‘Hypervigilance’ about race linked to blood pressure
At the end of the trial, 72 percent of those doing home monitoring had their blood pressure under control, compared to 57 percent of the usual care group. The benefits persisted six months after the program had ended. The results, published today in JAMA , are similar to the findings of previous studies on home blood pressure monitoring. But, according to the researchers, this is the first time people with both uncontrolled blood pressure and other conditions (such as diabetes) have been studied in such a program, and the first time results were measured after the formal monitoring program had ended. “More frequent blood pressure monitoring allows more opportunities to detect blood pressure that is higher than the desired range.
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In addition to the link between race consciousness and blood pressure, Cooper’s team found that whites who were race conscious were more likely to feel respected in the doctor-patient relationship than whites who were not concerned with race, though they were less likely to take their blood pressure medication as prescribed. “Given the socially dominant status of whites in the United States, higher levels of race consciousness could reflect greater awareness of white privilege,” the authors note in the study. “Another explanation, particularly among whites who reside in areas with a high black population, is that race consciousness reflects a heightened fear of victimization, an anxiety-provoking stressor. Scholars of critical race theory are still debating whether race consciousness enhances or adversely affects the health of whites.” Cooper notes that it can be stressful for black people to go in a store and feel they are being watched more closely than others. Another example that is equally stressful, she says, is waiting a long time to be served at a restaurant and being ignored, possibly because of one’s race.
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