Racial-ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) have been evident over the past few decades. As such, addressing these disparities have been a part of national programs such as Health People 2020 and the Million Heart initiative. Hypertension (HTN) has been a primary focus of these initiatives due to the significant contribution of HTN as a risk factor for CVD and its role in CVD racial/ethnic disparities. HTN is common among various racial/ethnic groups, in particular non-Hispanic blacks and certain groups of Hispanics. Additionally, both non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults have been known to have higher prevalence of poorly controlled blood pressure (BP) compared to non-Hispanic whites. Long-standing HTN leads to increased risk of end-organ damage, development of coronary heart disease, stroke, end-stage kidney disease, and increased overall CVD-specific mortality. This chapter provides an update of available data on the prevalence of HTN in various racial/ethnic groups and prevalence of awareness, treatment, and control of HTN in attempts to further demonstrate the significant role HTN plays in racial/ethnic disparities in CVD. We also discuss the most recently published HTN guidelines that has led to debate regarding the potential impact on worsening CVD disparities, through disproportionate effects on the elderly, women, and non-Hispanic blacks.
Part of the book: Update on Essential Hypertension