New Study Establishes a Link Between Discrimination and High Blood Pressure

A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Irvine finds that Black and Latino adults who reported they had been victims or discrimination were more likely to have high blood pressure than their peers who had experienced less incidents of discrimination.

The study was conducted among adults in Detroit with surveys conducted six years apart. Alana LeBron, an assistant professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, notes that “we discovered significant racial and ethnic differences, with non-Latino Black and Latina and Latino adults reporting greater increases in both interpersonal and institutional discrimination compared with non-Latino white adults. Our findings link increased frequency to significant elevation in cardiovascular risk for Black adults and Latina/o adults during a relatively short period of time: six years.”

Dr. LeBron added that “a unique feature of this data set is that it provided experience and health variables from the same participants over time, facilitating an examination of changes in discrimination and cardiovascular risk. If we are to improve the health of our society and eliminate health inequities, we must invest in undoing and eliminating racism.”

The study, “Impact of Change Over Time in Self-Reported Discrimination on Blood Pressure: Implications for Inequities in Cardiovascular Risk for a Multi-Racial Urban Community,” was published on the website of the journal Ethnicity & Health. It may be accessed here.

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