Facts and Fallacies Regarding the Blood Pressure of Different Regional and Racial Groups

ROBERT P. BAYS, NEVIN S. SCRIMSHAW
1953 Circulation  
The blood pressure cuff reveals higher values in complex societies than in simpler social environments. Evaluation of the importance of this fact necessitates a more exact use of such terms as "high blood pressure" or "hypertensive disease" as applied to an individual, and "mean blood pressure" or "incidence of hypertension" as applied to groups. The inadequacies of the cuff method of blood pressure determination are particularly evident in group studies. From the available facts, a few
more » ... acts, a few cautious conclusions may be drawn. T HE blood pressure of people of socalled primitive cultural environments has been reported to be lower than that of people in more complex societies.'-'7 Negroes in the United States have a higher blood pressure than the whites,'8-35 while Negroes in Africa'-2, [15] [16] [17][36] [37] and Chinese in China6-7' 9, 38-45 have been reported to have exceptionally low blood pressure. These facts, if true, should be of importance in evaluating current concepts of the etiology of hypertension. The authors' findings in Panama confirm earlier reports46-49 of a high incidence of hypertension in the Negro population and a moderate to low incidence among the whites and Panamanians. The literature was reviewed in an attempt to correlate the data from Panama with the prevailing views regarding the blood pressure of different racial and cultural groups. This review revealed variables and discrepancies usually not considered in earlier studies, which cast doubt on the generally accepted concepts mentioned above. Full consideration has been given to these variables in the presentation of the accompanying material which has, of necessity, been obtained mostly from the reports of other investigators. Only those data which should reflect the relative blood pressure of distinct racial, geographical, economic, sociologic, or cultural groups have been used.
doi:10.1161/01.cir.8.5.655 pmid:13106887 fatcat:2n7jwmpszrc5znlrmw6fhqcap4