Health Connections
 
African American businessman at a table

Darker-skinned African American men with a high-status lifestyle had higher blood pressure than their lighter-skinned counterparts.

Credit: PhotoDisc

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Hypertension (continued from previous page)

Darker-skinned African American men with a high-status lifestyle had higher blood pressure than their lighter-skinned counterparts. Researchers theorize that the darker-skinned men endured more negative social interactions because racial stereotypes typically correlate darker skin with lower socioeconomic status (Dressler, 1991).

"Hypertension is a complex disease, meaning that there is genetic and environmental involvement," says Dr. Hutchinson. "Genes associated with hypertension probably exist, but may require environmental factors such as stress and diet to express in a way that moves a person across a threshold into the hypertension category. While it is still unclear which genes play a role in hypertension, we know specific dietary and societal factors that contribute."

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