High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. It is a severe condition that considerably intensifies the possibility of heart, kidney, and other illnesses.
Hypertension increases the risk of death from vascular diseases, diabetes, and kidney disease.
Schutte et al. (2021) report that a third of all grown-ups are projected to have high blood pressure, which translates to nearly 1.5 billion. Nearly half percent of the adults with this condition are not aware. A small number are diagnosed and treated.
Population-based reports on high blood pressure are accessible for many developing nations; however, Schutte et al. (2021) contend that increasing high-quality studies that correctly measure high blood pressure from developing countries are encouraged.
Consequences of High Blood Pressure
Hypertension can silently damage a person’s body for many years before symptoms manifest.
Untreated elevated blood pressure may lead to poor quality of life, infirmity, or worse, deadly stroke or heart attack. Lifestyle changes and treatment can facilitate control of elevated blood pressure to abridge the risks of life-threatening complications.
Hypertension is linked to economic and social consequences, specifically in developing nations. Besides the direct costs incurred with healthcare utilization for managing complications, the disease causes major productivity loss from premature death and disability (Sorato et al., 2022).
World Health Organization data shows the massive impact of high blood pressure on national finances due to disability, pre-mature death, loss of income, individual and family interruption, and healthcare expenditure.
The cost of illness can be utilized in measuring the financial burden of an illness on persons and societies. The cost of illness can offer information to support healthcare decision-making and political process if it is done from a societal standpoint by utilizing appropriate costing strategies.
High Blood Pressure Amongst Minority Groups
There are major dissimilarities in hypertension occurrence and control rates based on ethnicity/race. Countrywide analyses, for example, NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), have underscored these dissimilarities.
Seed, Nixon, & Yang (2020) reports that non-Hispanic blacks have significantly greater frequencies of high blood pressure than non-Hispanic whites. In contrast, non-Hispanic and Hispanic Asians have low proportions as compared to both groups.
Though these surveys are educational from a national health viewpoint, current research has revealed considerable heterogeneity in the predominance of high blood pressure among particular racial/ethnic groups indicating a need to disaggregate data to refine high-risk populations.
A New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey study discovered substantively higher high blood pressure rates for Hispanics and Asians compared to non-Hispanic whites (Seed, Nixon, & Yang, 2020).
Though the occurrence of high blood pressure has been found to be remarkably higher in handpicked racial/ethnic groups.
A CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) publication showed that high blood pressure control rates were notably higher among non-Hispanic whites and lowest among non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic Asians.
High Blood Pressure Amongst Blacks/African-Americans
Lackland (2014) also affirms that the racial disparity in elevated blood pressure and high blood pressure-related effects have been identified for many years, with blacks having higher risks than Caucasians.
The scholar further points out that high blood pressure levels have constantly been higher for blacks with an earlier commencement of the disease. Though treatment and awareness levels of hypertension have been comparable, racial differences in the control rate are evident.
High blood pressure levels for African Americans are related to increased heart failure and stroke incidences. Lackland (2014) states that the reasons for racial differences in hypertension and hypertension-related outcomes remain unclear.
According to Seed, Nixon, & Yang (2020), the roots of racial/ethnic disparities are multifactorial; nonetheless, insufficient insurance coverage and lack of admittance to health facilities are major determining factors linked to poor high blood pressure control.
Other gaps occur in the usage of anti-high blood pressure remedies- uppermost for non-Hispanic whites and lowermost for Hispanics. Current shifts have revealed a rise in the use of effective treatments such as calcium channel blockers and diuretics in non-Hispanic blacks.
High blood pressure’s economic and social burden is quite substantial. Prevention of this disease could result in huge financial savings for many countries.
Thus, designing and implementing effective strategies to combat hypertension, such as early screening and detection and enhancing hypertension control rate by incorporating pertinent shareholders at all stages, is essential to conserving limited health resources.
Written By: Emmanuel J. Osemota
Lackland, D. T. (2014). Racial differences in hypertension: implications for high blood pressure management. The American journal of the medical sciences, 348(2), 135-138.
Schutte, A. E., Srinivasapura Venkateshmurthy, N., Mohan, S., & Prabhakaran, D. (2021). Hypertension in low-and middle-income countries. Circulation Research, 128(7), 808-826.
Seed, A., Nixon, D., & Yang, E. (2020). Racial Disparities in Hypertension Prevalence and Management: A Crisis Control? – American College of Cardiology. American College of Cardiology. Retrieved 15 October 2022, from https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2020/04/06/08/53/racial-disparities-in-hypertension-prevalence-and-management.
Sorato, M. M., Davari, M., Kebriaeezadeh, A., Sarrafzadegan, N., & Shibru, T. (2022). Societal economic burden of hypertension at selected hospitals in southern Ethiopia: a patient-level analysis. BMJ open, 12(4), e056627.