Health disparities emerge in blood pressure control

A health care provider measures an older man's blood pressure in his home.

After reviewing data from more than 16,000 adults with high blood pressure, researchers identified differences in treatment that accounted for more than 20% of health disparities in blood pressure control.  
For instance, the researchers found that Black patients were least likely to take blood pressure-lowering medication, while Asian patients were most likely to use antihypertensive treatment. White and Hispanic/Latino patients had intermediate levels of blood pressure control. The authors also found that treatment intensification, based on a doctor increasing blood pressure medication, was linked to about 1 in 4 observed differences in blood pressure control. Missed visits accounted for 1 out of every 7 to 8 differences.   

To address these types of health disparities, the authors note doctors could adopt personalized approaches to prescribe blood pressure-lowering medication to patients. They could also consider providing weekend hours, transportation reimbursements, and bringing care to the community. Examples might include having a team of health care professionals visit local pharmacies, barbershops, beauty shops, and churches.   

The study published in JAMA Cardiology and was supported by the NHLBI, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.