Hypertension a greater risk for black women
From Health Correspondent Linda Ciampa
November 1, 1999
Web posted at: 2:39 p.m. EST (1939 GMT)
(CNN) -- New research shows high blood pressure doesn't affect all people equally. In fact, African American women who are overweight and have high blood pressure are at greater risk than any other group for developing heart failure, according to a new study.
"We don't know the cause and effect at this point," said researcher Dr. Stephanie Dunlap of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"There could be a hormonal difference. It could be that when you combine these three factors together -- being a woman, being African American with high blood pressure and obesity -- it might turn on a certain set of genes that could dispose you to heart failure."
| DOCTOR Q&A:|
CNN's Linda Ciampa reports on the high incidence of heart failure in African American women who suffer from high blood pressure.
Researchers analyzed data of almost 700 patients in North Carolina. Their study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, shows that while hypertension was the main cause of heart failure for 40 percent of African Americans, it was the cause of heart failure in just 7 percent of non-African Americans.
"It was surprising to us," Dunlap said. "We've known for a long time that high blood pressure was a risk factor for developing heart failure. What we haven't known is who is at greatest risk, and now we know."
Doctors said several years of uncontrolled hypertension led to heart failure in Ida Myers. Last spring, she received a heart transplant.
"My doctor kept telling me to control my blood pressure, but I never knew I was at higher risk than others," she said.
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