Racial predisposition to high blood pressure

According to a new study, black adolescents who drink four cans of caffeinated pop a day could be raising their risk of high blood pressure.

The frequency of hypertension among youth is rising, and black adolescents have higher systolic blood pressures - the top blood pressure number - than white adolescents, says the study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

In general, blacks are more likely to have high blood pressure, the study says, which can lead to stroke, heart failure and kidney damage.

"This paper indicates that the concern about soda consumption in children and teens should not be limited to the fact that soft drinks add more calories to the diet," said lead author Margaret Savoca, a nutritionist at the Medical College of Georgia.

The study estimated that 68 per cent of boys and 62 per cent of girls, 12 to 17, drink at least one soft drink a day. The study looked at 81 black teens and 78 whites.

Black youth who consumed the most caffeine - the equivalent of four 350-millilitre cans - had higher systolic blood pressure readings than all others in the study, including whites in the highest caffeine intake category, the authors found, reports thestar.com

According to webindia123.com the researchers found that those who drank more than 100 milligrams a day or the equivalent of about four 12-ounce sodas had the highest blood pressures.

They also found that despite the fact that the highest consumers who were white consumed even more caffeine than their black peers, the blacks' pressures were most impacted.

Harshfield said that the remaining differences could be explained by the fact that blacks and whites have different mechanisms for blood pressure regulation.

Therefore, to reduce the risk of hypertension among blacks, a better understanding of the environmental, genetic and dietary factors that contribute to blood pressure differences between young African-Americans and Caucasians is needed.

Although some of the differences could be affected by sex and weight, the remaining gap could be explained by the fact that blacks and whites have different mechanisms for regulating blood pressure, said Dr. Greg Harshfield, who set up the main study, which was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Harshfield has shown that some black teens have a reduced ability to secrete sodium long after the stress that prompts the body to retain sodium and keep blood pressure higher has been removed. Savoca plans to do a more in-depth look at study participants with the highest and lowest blood pressures, informs nwsource.com

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