Purpose of review: African Americans are over-burdened with hypertension resulting in excess morbidity and mortality. We highlight the health impact of hypertension in this population, review important observations regarding disease pathogenesis, and outline evidence-based treatment, current treatment guidelines, and management approaches.
Recent findings: Hypertension accounts for 50% of the racial differences in mortality between Blacks and Whites in the USA. Genome-wide association studies have not clearly identified distinct genetic causes for the excess burden in this population as yet. Pathophysiology is complex likely involving interaction of genetic, biological, and social factors prevalent among African Americans. Non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapy is required and specific treatment guidelines for this population are varied. Combination therapy is most often necessary and single-pill formulations are most successful in achieving BP targets. Racial health disparities related to hypertension in African Americans are a serious public health concern that warrants greater attention. Multi-disciplinary research to understand the inter-relationship between biological and social factors is needed to guide successful treatments. Comprehensive care strategies are required to successfully address and eliminate the hypertension burden.
Keywords: African American; Blood pressure; Cardiovascular disease; Health disparity; Hypertension pathogenesis; Hypertension treatment.