High Blood Pressure In African-Americans Worsens Kidney Disease and Diabetes

Nearly 26 million Americans suffer from kidney disease, many being minorities and elderly people, and those with high blood pressure or diabetes. A recent study on individuals with kidney disease has found that African-American men and women are the most likely to have high blood pressure associated with their disease, which can lead to further complications.

High blood pressure is one of the most likely contributors in worsening kidney disease, while past studies have shown that maintaining a healthy blood pressure and controlling hypertension can help better contain and slow the progression of kidney disease.

The study, which accounted for more than 10,000 kidney disease patients, showed that African-Americans were more likely to experience kidney failure, or require dialysis or a transplant, to prolong their lives. And one of the most likely contributors to this higher rate of kidney failure is the generally higher blood pressure of both African-American men and women.

African-Americans are also known to be at greater risk for developing diabetes, as well as being more at risk to suffer severe complications and fatality from diabetes. Diabetes also has a strong connection to high blood pressure, and as mentioned above, has a known connection to kidney disease as well.

High blood pressure can often result from poor nutrition and lack of exercise, as well as obesity, which all are major contributors to the development of diabetes.

Past studies have shown that African-Americans are 27% more likely to die from diabetes than white Americans. African-American youths are also becoming increasingly at risk for the development of diabetes, likely due to the increasing numbers of obese African-American children.

It is evident that there is a major problem at hand, with many of the diseases and conditions mentioned above closely connected. High blood pressure, often a result of obesity and poor eating habits, can greatly increase and progress problems in both kidney disease and diabetes. Diabetes, which also results often from obesity and poor exercise and eating habits, and is therefore closely connected to high blood pressure, has been known to lead to kidney disease as well.

The African-American community is at increased risk for all of these problems. Poor eating habits and obesity may be at the root of many of the above complications, in addition to recognized genetic connections to diseases such as diabetes. Awareness, as always, is one of the keys to preventing such major problems, as many African-Americans are not aware of the problem: 2.8 million African-Americans are thought to have diabetes, and over 35% of them don’t know they have it.

The hope is that with increased awareness, the current definitive high numbers of kidney disease complications, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and other connected problems in African-Americans, will decrease and be at par with other population groups.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: National Kidney Foundation News Release. February 1st 2008. Dutton, Gareth. et al. Diabetes Care. “Barriers to Physical Activity Among Predominantly Low-Income African- American Patients With Type 2 Diabetes.” December 2005.