Environmental Factors Contribute To High Blood Pressure In African-American Males

Intervention Cuts Hypertension Rates and Decreases Emergency Room Visits

Environmental stressors contribute significantly to hypertension in young, urban African-American males, but high blood pressure can be dramatically decreased with the intervention of health care providers, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing report.

Preliminary results of a two-year study of 309 African-American males ages 18 to 54 show that the absence of high blood pressure treatment and factors such as unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, and lack of health insurance increase environmental stress and raise blood pressure. Efforts of a Hopkins intervention team resulted in blood pressure control rates of almost 50 percent and a decrease of 75 percent in emergency room visits.

Results of the study will be presented at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 9, at the American Heart Association's 71st annual Scientific Sessions in Dallas.

"Young, African-American males suffer some of the lowest rates of hypertension awareness, treatment and control," says Mary C. Roary, M.P.H., project director at Hopkins' Center for Nursing Research and an author of the study. "Environmental factors such as lack of health insurance, unemployment and other stressful living conditions exacerbate hypertension and put this population at even greater risk. The good news is that innovative and comprehensive approaches to the management and treatment of hypertension can have a significant impact on controlling high blood pressure.

"Use of an intervention team kept the men from having to use a hospital emergency department as their means of primary care," says Roary. "When health care providers recognized environmental stressors and addressed them, blood pressure was controlled."

The Hopkins intervention team comprises a nurse practitioner, a physician and a community health worker. Participants in the study are given treatment including free medic

Contact: Kate Pipkin
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

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