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Ethnic differences in blood pressure and the prevalence of hypertension in England


The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence of hypertension and mean blood pressures among Afro-Caribbeans and South-Asians in England compared with Caucasians. Data from the Birmingham Factory Screen, Birmingham INTERSALT volunteers, and four West Midlands churches were combined into a single database (n = 2853), since all three studies employed identical methods. The cohort comprised 2169 (76%) Caucasians (71% men); 453 (16%) Afro-Caribbean (60% men); and 231 (8%) South-Asian men. The results were that overall prevalence of hypertension (160/95 mm Hg or taking antihypertensives) was greater in both Afro-Caribbean men (31%) and women (34%) (both P < 0.001), compared with Caucasians (19% and 13% respectively), while South-Asian men had a similar overall prevalence to Caucasians (16%). Compared with Caucasians, Afro-Caribbeans had significantly higher mean systolic blood pressure, with higher mean diastolic blood pressures evident among Afro-Caribbean women. After adjustment for age, body mass index, smoking, and weekly alcohol intake, the odds ratios (95% CI) for being hypertensive were 1.56 (1.14 to 2.13; P = 0.005) and 2.40 (1.51 to 3.81; P = 0.0002) for Afro-Caribbean men and women, respectively and 1.31 (0.88 to 1.97; P = 0.19) for South-Asian men, compared with Caucasians. In conclusion the prevalence of hypertension and mean blood pressures are higher among Afro-Caribbeans compared with Caucasians. South-Asian men had similar rates of hypertension and mean blood pressures to Caucasians.

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The authors wish to thank the management and workforce of the following companies for their help in this project: The Birmingham Box Co Ltd, Birmingham Metal Finishers, Blue Circle Cement, Brockhouse District Steel, RG Brown, Cooperative Society Laundry, Delta Wire Ltd, GKN Screws and Fasteners Ltd, Lucas Electrical, Stevens and Bullivant Ltd, Sturmey-Archer (Raleigh) Ltd, and Tongue and Wills Ltd. In addition, we would also like to thank the following medical staff for their commitment and efforts in recruiting and screening the participants: Dr JK Cruickshank, M Beevers, R Haynes, and R Hornby. Finally, the authors would also like to thank Solvay and Boehringer Ingleheim pharmaceutical companies for their educational non-promotional grants towards this project.

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Correspondence to G Y H Lip.

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Lane, D., Beevers, D. & Lip, G. Ethnic differences in blood pressure and the prevalence of hypertension in England. J Hum Hypertens 16, 267–273 (2002).

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  • blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • ethnicity

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