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Monitoring Blood Pressure

American Heart Association figures show that over 40% of African American adults live with chronic high blood pressure.

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Hypertension

Are African Americans genetically predisposed to hypertension? American Heart Association figures show that over 40% of African American adults live with chronic hypertension (also known as high blood pressure), compared to 30% of their white counterparts. The downstream health risks of hypertension are serious. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), African Americans experience kidney failure from hypertension at a rate six times higher than their white counterparts.

"Race has long been considered a biological trait and a predictor of health in medical studies in the same way that age and sex are," says Dr. Hutchinson, noting recent FDA approval of the drug BiDil for heart failure specifically in African Americans. "However, what we now know about the human genome tells us that human biological diversity does not conform to groups described as races. Genes linked to skin color have not been shown to be determinants of disease."

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