Hypertension is known to occur much more frequently in blacks than in the general population, roughly 33% to 50% more frequently. In addition, severe hypertension occurs 3 to 7 times more commonly in blacks than whites and is associated with an excessive amount of target organ damage. Thus, damage to the heart, kidneys, and cerebral structures may occur as much as three to five times more frequently in blacks than the general population and is associated with a much greater mortality. Because of differences in clinical presentation, delays in entering the medical care system, and some pathophysiologic features specific for the black population, treatment becomes somewhat more challenging and should be tailored for this population. Because of economic factors often found in minority populations, inexpensive effective drugs such as diuretics and β-blockers, which are preferred drugs according to the JNC-V, often should be given first consideration in this population. However, calcium channel blockers seem to be quite effective in this group, equal to in the white population, although they are somewhat more expensive. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, if given in proper dosage and especially with low dose diuretics, are also quite effective in this population. Tissue specific angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors may be more effective, but further studies are needed. Studies have shown that effective treatment of the black population, in spite of the differences and the more challenging situation, can result in improved survival and reduction in morbidity and mortality from the various complications. © 1995 American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd.
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