Contemporary and Future Concepts on Hypertension in African Americans: COVID-19 and Beyond.
Journal of the National Medical Association. 2020;(3):315-323
BACKGROUND Cardiovascular disease related mortality is the leading cause of death in the United States, with hypertension being the most prevalent and potent risk factor. For decades hypertension has disproportionately affected African Americans, who also have a higher burden of associated comorbidities including diabetes and heart failure. METHODS Current literature including guideline reports and newer studies on hypertension in African Americans in PubMed were reviewed. We also reviewed newer publications on the relationship between COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease. FINDINGS While APOL1 has been theorized in the epidemiology of hypertension, the increased prevalence and associated risks are primarily due to environmental and lifestyle factors. These factors include poor diet, adverse lifestyle, and social determinants. Hypertension control can be achieved by lifestyle modifications such as low sodium diet, weight loss, and adequate physical activity. When lifestyle modifications alone do not adequately control hypertension, a common occurrence among African Americans who suffer with greater prevalence of resistant hypertension, pharmacological intervention is indicated. The efficacy of renal denervation, and the use of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 and aminopeptidase A inhibitors, have been studied for treatment of resistant hypertension. Furthermore, the recent COVID-19 crisis has been particularly devastating among African Americans who demonstrate increased incidence and poorer health outcomes related to the disease. CONCLUSION The disparities in outcomes, which are largely attributable to a greater prevalence of comorbidities such as hypertension and obesity, in addition to adverse environmental and socioeconomic factors, highlight the necessity of specialized clinical approaches and programs for African Americans to address longstanding barriers to equitable care.
Differences in RAAS/vitamin D linked to genetics and socioeconomic factors could explain the higher mortality rate in African Americans with COVID-19.
Therapeutic advances in cardiovascular disease. 2020;:1753944720977715
COVID-19 is said to be a pandemic that does not distinguish between skin color or ethnic origin. However, data in many parts of the world, especially in the United States, begin to show that there is a sector of society suffering a more significant impact from this pandemic. The Black population is more vulnerable than the White population to infection and death by COVID-19, with hypertension and diabetes mellitus as probable predisposing factors. Over time, multiple disparities have been observed between the health of Black and White populations, associated mainly with socioeconomic inequalities. However, some mechanisms and pathophysiological susceptibilities begin to be elucidated that are related directly to the higher prevalence of multiple diseases in the Black population, including infection and death by COVID-19. Plasma vitamin D levels and evolutionary adaptations of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) in Black people differ considerably from those of other races. The role of these factors in the development and progression of hypertension and multiple lung diseases, among them SARS-CoV-2 infection, is well established. In this sense, the present review attempts to elucidate the link between vitamin D and RAAS ethnic disparities and susceptibility to infection and death by COVID-19 in Black people, and suggests possible mechanisms for this susceptibility.