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Congest Heart Fail. 2004 Jan-Feb;10(1):24-9.

Pathogenesis of hypertension in African Americans.

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Internal Medicine/Hypertension Division, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


Hypertension is a compelling disease process that disproportionately affects African Americans. It is the single largest risk factor for cardiovascular disease in African Americans. The end organ manifestations of hypertension are striking and include higher rates of stroke, significantly increased renal disease including end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis, higher risk of left ventricular hypertrophy, and an associated higher risk of heart failure. The cause of these more aggressive end organ phenomena is likely multifactorial and includes a mix of genetic and environmental influences. Intriguing polymorphisms of the epithelial sodium channel are consistent with patterns of hypertension seen in African Americans. Obesity, especially in African-American women, may be closely related to hypertension as a result of sympathetic nervous system stimulation.

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