Black women who develop high blood pressure before age 35 have a threefold increased risk of having a midlife stroke, new observational data suggested.
The Black Women’s Health Study, which has followed 59,000 participants in the United States since 1990s, also showed that those who develop hypertension before age 45 have twice the risk of suffering a stroke.
“The really concerning thing about this data is the high proportion of young Black women who had high blood pressure and are suffering strokes relatively early in life,” the study’s lead author, Hugo J. Aparicio, MD, associate professor of neurology at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology. “This can lead to a burden of disability in relatively young women who may be at the prime of their life, pursuing careers and looking after family.”
Aparicio will present the data in full at next week’s International Stroke Conference 2024 to be held in Phoenix, Arizona.
He explained that while there has been good progress in reducing stroke rates in older people over the past decades, there is a concerning observation from multiple datasets showing that stroke rates in midlife have been plateauing or even increasing in recent years.
“For Black women specifically, there is a concern, as we know this group has higher rates of raised blood pressure and stroke overall,” said Aparicio. “We were interested in looking at whether the onset of hypertension at an earlier age in this group is one of the reasons for the increased stroke risk in midlife.”
The researchers analyzed data from the Black Women’s Health Study, a prospective study of 59,000 Black women from across the United States. The baseline year for this analysis, which included 46,754 stroke-free participants younger than age 65 (mean age, 42 years), was the 1999 questionnaire.
History of hypertension, defined as physician-diagnosed hypertension with the use of an antihypertensive medication, and of stroke occurrence was determined by self-report. It has been shown in previous studies that these self-reported data on incidence of hypertension in this dataset are highly reliable, Aparicio noted.
At baseline, 10.5% of participants aged 45-64 years had hypertension. Stroke occurred in 3.2% of individuals over a mean follow-up of 17 years.
Black women with hypertension before age 45 had a higher risk for midlife stroke (hazard ratio [HR], 2.23; 95% CI, 1.79-2.78), after adjustment for age, neighborhood socioeconomic status, residence in Stroke Belt, smoking, body mass index, and diabetes than women with no history of hypertension.
The risk was also increased with hypertension at midlife ages 45-64 years (HR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.47-1.95) and was highest among those with hypertension at ages 24-34 years (HR, 3.15; 95% CI, 1.92-5.16).
“Our results show that among young Black women, those with hypertension have a much higher stroke risk than those without hypertension, even if they are taking antihypertensive medication,” Aparicio said. “This underscores how potent hypertension is as a risk factor for stroke.”
He concluded that both individuals and doctors need to realize that hypertension and stroke are not problems of the elderly exclusively.
“These are conditions that need to be addressed very early in life. This is even more important for Black women, as they are a high-risk group. They need to pay attention to blood pressure numbers early in life — ideally from adolescence — to catch levels before they become too elevated,” Aparicio said.
“We also need to address lifestyle changes including diet, physical activity, sleep habits, and address other cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol and body mass index, so we can prevent strokes from occurring,” he added. “At the policy level, we need to advocate, provide and fund primary prevention measures, and enable earlier screening and better treatment.”
The Role of Psychosocial Stressors
Commenting on the study, the American Heart Association immediate past president, Michelle A. Albert, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, California, emphasized the importance of regular primary care appointments to screen for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors.
She pointed out that one of the contributing factors that may increase the risk for Black women is their disproportionate experience of psychosocial stressors and chronic cumulative stress.
This could include stress related to financial issues, racism and other forms of bias, the neighborhood environment, and having to take care of multiple generations of family with limited resources.
“These are some of the things that are less talked about as going into the heightened risk for many cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension, very early in life for Black women that we need to bring to the forefront of conversations,” Albert said.
“These stressors not only impact hypertension onset but also they impact one’s ability to be able to seek help, and once the help is sought, to be able to sustain the therapies recommended and the interventions recommended,” she added.
The authors reported no relevant disclosures.
Source link : https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/hypertension-before-35-tied-triple-stroke-risk-midlife-2024a10002bn?src=rss
Publish date : 2024-02-02 09:24:22
Copyright for syndicated content belongs to the linked Source.