Poorer blood pressure control among African Caribbean people

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Poorer blood pressure control among African Caribbean people

African Caribbean people are less likely to have their high blood pressure adequately controlled than their white counterparts, according to new research.

UK researchers, looking at the effect of the Government’s health targets on the treatment of high blood pressure in different ethnic groups, found that African Caribbean people are 14 per cent  less likely to reach their blood pressure target than their white counterparts.

And white people who had two or more other ‘risk’ factors for heart disease or stroke (such as diabetes or heart failure) had better blood pressure control (a drop of -9.4mmHg) than African Caribbean (0.6mmHg) or South Asian patients (-1.8mmHg).

The study, carried out by researchers at Imperial College, London, was based on the treatment of 8,876 people with high blood pressure across 16 GP surgeries in Wandsworth, London.

It concluded that the Government’s pay and performance scheme (known as the Quality and Outcomes Framework or QoF) is not ensuring the optimal treatment of high blood pressure in minority ethnic groups. They suggest health planners need to consider additional incentives or schemes to tackle this.

A study in America has shown the life saving consequences of adequately controlling high blood pressure. The research found that among people with high blood pressure, the average systolic (top number) blood pressure of African Caribbean Americans was 7mmHg higher than that of white Americans. The researchers calculated that removing the difference in treatment and control of high blood pressure between ethnic groups in the United States could prevent almost 8,000 deaths from heart attack or stroke in the African Caribbean American community.

The Blood Pressure Association has a website and a leaflet specifically designed for the African Caribbean community. To find out more, click on the links below:


Satcher D. Editorial: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health and Hypertension Control. Ann Fam Med 2008 6: 483-485.

Cené CW, Cooper LA. Editorial. Death Toll From Uncontrolled Blood Pressure in Ethnic Populations: Universal Access and Quality Improvement May Not Be Enough. Ann Fam Med 2008 6: 486-489.

Millett C, Gray J, Bottle A, Majeed A. Ethnic Disparities in Blood Pressure Management in Patients With Hypertension After the Introduction of Pay for Performance. Ann Fam Med 2008 6: 490-496.

Fiscella K, Holt K. Racial Disparity in Hypertension Control: Tallying the Death Toll. Ann Fam Med 2008 6: 497-502.

Topics: Research, High Blood Pressure in the news, High blood pressure

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