Race, Ethnicity, Hypertension, and Heart Disease
Hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality globally. In the United States, the prevalence of hypertension (blood pressure ≥130/80 mm Hg) among adults is approximately 45%. Racial/ethnic disparities in hypertension prevalence are well documented, especially among Black adults who are disproportionately affected and have one of the highest rates of hypertension globally. Hypertension control remains a persistent public health crisis. Recently published data indicate suboptimal hypertension control rates, particularly for racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States. This requires urgent action because of the significant health care burden from cardiovascular- and stroke–related morbidity and mortality. This clinical review delineates racial/ethnic disparities in the epidemiology of hypertension, and the impact of social determinants of health on the quality of cardiovascular care and outcomes. Clinical practice guideline recommendations and various national programs targeted toward hypertension control and proposed solutions to eliminate these disparities are discussed.