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J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2017 Oct;19(10):1010-1014. doi: 10.1111/jch.13056. Epub 2017 Jul 28.

Controlling hypertension and reducing its associated morbidity and mortality in the Caribbean: implications of race and ethnicity.

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University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC, USA.
The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus, Barbados.
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.
Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC, USA.


Cardiovascular diseases and stroke, especially hypertension, represent a significant global disease burden for both morbidity and mortality, with a disproportionately higher impact in vulnerable low- to middle-income countries. International initiatives such as the Centers for Disease and Prevention and the Pan American Health Organization Standardized Hypertension Treatment Project have been developed to address this burden on the Caribbean and Latin America populations. The disparity in disease burden observed in low- to middle-income countries is explained, in part, by differences in disease risks for different racial and ethnic groups with high blood pressure more prevalent and hypertension-related morbidity significantly higher in men and women of African heritage. In addition to the race and ethnic differences in indicators of socioeconomic status, access to care and health service delivery, the physiologic mechanism of high blood pressure including salt-sensitivity, may also play a significant role in the disparities in hypertension and hypertension-related outcomes. This article focuses on potential racial and ethnic differences in influences on the pathophysiology of hypertension in the Caribbean region of the world. The identification of such differences may be used in the development of population hypertension control strategies and treatment approach that address the excess disease burden in these populations. The consideration of strategies, such as salt reduction and hypertension awareness and treatment, are particularly relevant to the high-risk Caribbean region.

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