Study connects chronic stress, high BP in black populations

Living with chronic stress could have serious implications for blood pressure control in black patients, Reuters reported Nov. 5.

Citing a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that drew on data from the long-running Jackson Heart Study, reporter Vishwadha Chander said that of 1,829 participants evaluated at baseline, all had normal blood pressure. During a total of three clinic visits, patients were surveyed about their lives and underwent physical exams that included BP measurements.

Over an average of seven years of follow-up, Tanya Spruill and colleagues at the NYU School of Medicine reported that around 30% of new hypertension diagnoses occurred after a period of low stress, 35% occurred after years of moderate stress and nearly 40% occurred after a period of chronic high stress.

“African Americans who reported high levels of perceived stress over time were more likely to develop hypertension compared to those who consistently reported low stress,” Spruill told Reuters, noting her team’s findings were independent of risk factors like age, obesity and smoking status.

The researchers posited their findings could be the result of a well-established racial gap in CV care. Black communities have more often faced a higher burden of hypertension and chronic stressors like discrimination and lower socioeconomic status compared with white communities.

Read the full report below: