HealthDay News — The urban African-American population has a high prevalence of hypertensive crisis and hypertensive emergencies, according to a study published online Jan. 22 in Blood Pressure.

Frederick A. Waldron, M.D., from the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey, and colleagues used emergency department medical records to assess the prevalence of hypertensive crisis and its subtypes. Among identified hypertensive patients (90 percent African-American), cases (BP ≥200/120 mm Hg) and controls (BP <200/120 mm Hg) were matched in a 1-to-1 ratio for age, gender, and race.

The researchers found that the prevalence of hypertensive crisis was 11.4 percent, and the prevalence of hypertensive emergencies was 3.2 percent. Hypertensive emergencies accounted for 28 percent of patients with crisis. Older age, male gender, anemia, history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and chronic renal insufficiency predicted hypertensive emergencies. The odds of developing hypertensive emergencies were not reduced by having health care insurance and access to medical care. For progression from hypertensive crisis to hypertensive emergencies, race was not a significant risk factor.

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“The study highlights the high prevalence of hypertensive crisis and hypertensive emergencies in the predominantly African-American urban population, which is five times the United States average,” the authors write.

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