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I recently learned that I was prescribed blood pressure medication because of my race and that other types of medications were prescribed to other races for the same condition.
There are strict guidelines practices for doctors and other medical staff to prescribe certain hypertension medications to Blacks, whether it was best for their unique health issue or not.
This report was shocking to me, to actually have something like this documented, and especially when the categories of drugs listed that's assigned for people like me gave me horrible side effects, in fact nearly killed me.
Now I understand why the first doctor that prescribed blood pressure medication to me never acknowledged my complaints because he was stuck on his teachings. Even though my health was not improving, and I:
The practice guidelines recommended that African-Americans patients with high blood pressure with no comorbidities be treated initially with a thiazide diuretic or a calcium channel blocker (CCB) – all these medications I have taken and had very bad side effects to which my doctors didn’t take into consideration me as an unique individual.
They didn’t give me instead an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) and/or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). By contrast, non-Black patients can be prescribed any of those medicines regardless of comorbidities.
While these guidelines were based on evidence from clinical trails, the interpretation of this evidence has come under intense scrutiny.
These studies were analyzed over a two-year period of electronic health records data from 10,875 patients with hypertension in the San Francisco Bay Area. These patients were on one- or two-drug regimens including ACEI, ARB, thiazide diuretics, or CCB.
Of the patients studied, 20.6% of the patients were identified as Black.
The data also shows on average, primary care doctors were following race-based recommendations and prescribed ACEI/ARBs to Black patients far less frequently compared to non-Black patients (42.3% of non-Black patients were on ACEI/ARBs vs. 18.6% of Black patients).
So imagine for a moment going to your doctor very ill and not given the best treatment because you’re Black. If these patients had high blood pressure, they could not receive ACEI or ARB, two common drugs for hypertension, unless they have additional comorbidities.
But other non-black patients could and did receive either of those medications regardless of whether they have comorbidities.
Blacks were placed and treated within a narrower range of medication options than all other racial groups. This race-based approach to being prescribed blood pressure medication has no apparent benefit.
At the same time this guidance could limit Black’s access to medications that could have us achieving better overall health outcomes, say the authors of a study published Jan. 13, 2022, in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.
Further, the Lancet published an article that said:
With my many side effects making me more ill, I made the decision deep within me that I was going to find another way to help manage my high blood pressure, so I could enjoy life in all its form in excellent health.
Dr. Michael B. Potter, MD, a professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the San Francisco Bay Collaborative Research Network said, and I quote:
Making use of all available options means to me - every type of medication should be reviewed with the intention of treating your patient with the best drug that’s available according to their unique health issue.
Part of caring for your health and yourself in general is doing follow-up care where you have more frequent doctor’s visit while focusing greater attention on making healthy food choices.
As one of the authors of the initial study, Dr. Holt, stated "Race-based guidelines distract clinicians from providing targeted interventions that address known social determinants of health and from addressing implicit biases that disproportionately and negatively impact Black patients."
Get started today on participating within a program that is in your best interest in helping you achieve optimal health regardless of your race or your prescribed blood pressure medication.