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Hypertension Risk in African-Americans

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BETHESDA, Md., Sep 23, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Medical researchers are finding additional clues as to why African-Americans appear more prone to developing hypertension than other people.

Because changes in the arterial wall compliance and autonomic function often precede the onset of high blood pressure, a team of researchers has sought to identify whether differences in those areas exist among young, healthy African-American males who show no evidence of hypertension, compared with their non-African-American counterparts.

A joint research team from Columbia and Howard universities has proven that such differences do exist and -- since the changes may precede hypertension -- a safe, relatively inexpensive screening program should be considered to target individuals at risk.

Such early screening may help reduce the disease, which disproportionately affects black males. Not only does hypertension occur more frequently among African-American males, but it also presents itself earlier in their lives, causing increased complications of cardiovascular diseases compared with white Americans.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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