Site Loader
Rock Street, San Francisco


10, 2017

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now



The Silent Killer

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood
pressure, is a chronic illness which could lead to heart attack, stroke,
congestive heart failure, or worst if gone untreated by a medical professional.
People suffering from high blood pressure may not be aware of any symptoms
because of this; hypertension is often referred to as the silent killer. While
going unnoticed, the disease can cause damage to the cardiovascular system as
well as major internal organs like the kidneys. Although the effects of
hypertension are severe, it is very manageable and treatable. Risk factors for high
blood pressure are age, ethnicity, size and weight, sex, as well as the
patient’s existing health conditions. (Nordqvist)

In order to properly treat individuals
diagnosed with hypertension, there are many things that need to be taking into
consideration such as the person’s daily physical activity, diet, alcohol and
tobacco use, prior conditions and medications, stress levels, most importantly
is this condition multigenerational; meaning the patient’s family has a history
with this particular medical condition. This chronic ailment has affected my
community most to date because of genetics, the limited access to healthier
food choices, as well as the restricted limitations to adequate medical
treatment. (Nordqvist)

Hypertension primarily affects the community I
am apart of more than others because African Americans develop high blood
pressure at earlier ages in comparison to other groups in the United States.
Recent studies have shown that 41% of blacks have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, while only
27% of whites have be diagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) released information that showed 43% of black men and 45.7% of black
women suffer from hypertension. (High
Blood Pressure Facts) In recent years there have been multiple studies
that shows researchers have found that the genetic make-up of people of African
descent are not as receptive to the medication prescribed for high blood
pressure. Also in their research they were able to discover the African
American people tend to be more sensitive to salt. (WedMD)

In the African American community, “soul food”
is the primary source of nutrients. This creates the problem of high blood
pressure because thou the food taste amazing, it is also high in fat, starch, and
salt. These foods are often prepared by frying, barbequing, or served with
gravy or some type of sauce. (Ohioline) This in conjunction with the lack of exercise
in the black community majority of the time lead to obesity which can be a huge
factor in contributing to high blood pressure. The CDC published their findings
that one third of Americans (36.5%) are currently suffering from obesity and of
those people blacks have the highest age adjusted rates of obesity at 48.1%. (Overweight & Obesity) The State
of Obesity shows that 37.1% of black men and 56.6% of black women suffer from
obesity, as well as 20.2% of black children are dealing with obesity. (The State of Obesity)

This is also cause because blacks do not
have direct access to healthy food options. Within our communities there are
more fast food within a 5-mile radius then there are fresh grocery store
options. Black communities are often food deserts. Food deserts are areas where
at least 33 percent of the population doesn’t have access to a grocery store
within one mile of their residence and this causes food insecurity. “Food
justice is racial justice. In order to give all people equal access to healthy,
nutritious, and affordable food, we will have to dismantle racist systems and
policies. The same racist mechanisms that create segregated neighborhoods and
income inequality also cause food deserts to exist,” Paulah Wheeler, another co-founder
of BLKHLTH. (Mitchell)

As time passes, I have noticed that more
and more younger blacks are awakening and being more health conscious. We are
starting to make healthier food choices and implement some type of daily
workout. These small changes will have a long lasting positive affect on the
black community in my opinion and the long-term result will be less cases of

As if genetics coupled with diet and
lack of exercise weren’t already causing blacks to suffer from hypertension, a
study conducted in 2013 showed there were 42 million blacks in the United
States (about 13% of the population) and about 29.8% of us reported they
currently use tobacco products. (Smoking & Tobacco Use) Tobacco use also contributes to other diseases
that high blood pressure effects like stroke and heart disease. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention stated: black youth and young adults have
significantly lower prevalence of cigarette smoking than Hispanics and whites,
African Americans smoke fewer cigarettes per day than whites, and on average
blacks initiate smoking at a later age compared to whites. (Smoking &
Tobacco Use)

huge factor that plays a role into a person developing hypertension is stress
levels. “The Commonwealth Minority Health Survey
provides a unique glimpse of racial and ethnic variation in stress (Williams, 2000). On a global
measure combining exposure to stressors in five domains (occupation, finances,
relationships, racial bias, and violence), blacks, Hispanics, and Asians
reported higher levels of stress than whites “. (Bulatao) With black communities often having financial problems as
well as violence, the stress levels are usually extremely high.

With many factors already contributing to African
Americans having hypertension, there is hope for blacks to live a good and healthy
life rather they have hypertension or not. In order to properly treat hypertension,
the first step is being diagnosed with the disease; people are diagnosed with
high blood pressure when their blood pressure is measured during at least 3
different office visits with results coming back high. At this point, doctors
can order test such as urine, kidney ultrasound, blood, electrocardiogram (ECG)
and an echocardiograph to help determine the cause of the high blood pressure. (WebMD)

Before change implemented in 2010 to the Affordable
Care Act (ACA) this effected my community heavily because many African
Americans did not have health care coverage thus making it extremely hard for
them to be diagnosed or have the means for proper medical treatment for the disease.
The changes that occurred due to the affordable care act has had positive effects
on the black community this can be seen in the numbers alone. Before the implementation
of the ACA nearly 50 million Americans did not have health care coverage and
around 16 percent of these uncovered individuals were African Americans. (Amadeo)

Since ACA has gone into effect more than 20
million of those 50 million individuals now have health care insurance. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released results
from a survey they conducted that reflected the amount of non-Hispanic black adults between the
ages 18 and 64 who did not have health insurance coverage dropped from 24.9% in
2013 to 15.1% percent between January and September of last year. This allowed
many people within the black community to be able to see a physician and be
diagnosed with the disease thus allowing them to begin being treated. (2050)

It is my belief that this changed occurred
because health care coverage companies could no longer discriminate against
people for pre-existing condition, nor could they cancel their policies or make
their rates higher based on it. I believe this change was put in place because people
were ending up in the emergency room because of such conditions, with no way to
pay those high bills it often got transferred to Medicare, thus the tax-payers
ultimately being the ones being burdened with the cost of those medical bills.

In conclusion, hypertension (also known as high
blood pressure) is a chronic illness that heavily effects the black community
more than any other community in the United States of America. This sad, but true
fact is caused by many reasons that have resided in the black community for
years. The leading factors that cause the black community to suffer from high
blood pressure more than any other community is constant intake of soul food,
lack of exercise, and stress levels. Though the food is extremely good the
preparation of the meals causes them to be high in fat, starch, and salt. Because
of this another common ailment in the black community is obesity. Obesity levels
are extremely high in the black community as well almost going hand and hand
with high blood pressure.

Also in concluding, the intake of tobacco and alcohol
can also contribute to high blood pressure, though the number of cigarettes
smoked daily is lower in the black community it is still a factor that cause
this chronic illness to have the high numbers it does. Up until recent years,
lack of health care was one of the main reasons hypertension was going
untreated and causing people to suffer from other ailments. Because of the recent
changes made by the ACA blacks are able to get insurance and see physicians
because they were no longer being discriminated against by insurance companies
for pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure.

In my opinion, because of the vase information people
are now able to access the number of people in the black community suffering
with high blood pressure will get significantly lower. More and more millennials
are trading in their traditional soul food eating habits for more healthier
options as well as becoming more physically activity.























Works Cited


Progress. “5 Things You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act and African
Americans.” Center for American Progress, 28 Feb. 2017,

Kimberly. “10 Pros and Cons of Obamacare.” The Balance, 20 Oct.

Rodolfo A. “Stress.” Understanding Racial and Ethnic Differences in
Health in Late Life: A Research Agenda., U.S. National Library of Medicine,
1 Jan. 1970,

Blood Pressure Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Nov. 2016,

Blood Pressure in African-Americans.” WebMD, WebMD,

Katie. “How Black Millennials Are Taking Direct Action To Achieve Food Justice
– And You Can, Too.” Bustle, Bustle, 2 Dec. 2017,

Christian. “High Blood Pressure: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.” Medical News
Today, MediLexicon International, 28 Nov. 2017, “Ohioline.” Cultural
Diversity: Eating in America-African-American, 26 Feb. 2015,

& Obesity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Aug. 2017,

Food: The Impact of Unhealthy Eating Habits on the Black Community.” EBONY,
29 Mar. 2017,

 “Smoking & Tobacco Use.” Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18
Sept. 2017,

for High Blood Pressure.” WebMD, WebMD,
“The State of Obesity.” Special Report: Racial and Ethnic Disparities
in Obesity,


Post Author: admin


I'm Dora!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out