Hypertension in Hispanic Americans
José L. Cangiano, MDAddress reprint requests to J.L.C., Chief, Hypertension Section, VA Medical Center, One Veterans Plaza, San Juan, PR 00927-5800
People of Hispanic origin constitute a fast-growing segment of the US population.OBJECTIVE
To review the incidence and prevalence of hypertension in Hispanic Americans.SUMMARY
Some 22.4 million Hispanics live in the United States, but they are not a homogeneous group: Puerto Ricans appear to have a worse health status than Mexicans and Cubans, but different studies have yielded conflicting results. Only approximately half of hypertensive Hispanic Americans know that they have high blood pressure, and only approximately one fourth of these have their blood pressure under control. The prevalence of hypertension among Hispanic Americans falls between that of blacks and non-Hispanic whites, but appears to increase with the process of acculturation. In addition, the prevalence of hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors increases with decreasing socioeconomic status. Although cardiovascular mortality is declining in the US population at large, it is declining more slowly for Hispanics than it is for blacks and non-Hispanic whites.CONCLUSIONS
Hypertension is a major health threat in the Hispanic community. Barriers to care posed by poverty, language, and lack of education increase the risk of less-than-adequate diagnosis and treatment.