How and why do we measure blood pressure (BP)? Does it matter? How do we decide if BP is too high (a condition known as hypertension) and whether that is a result of aging, bad luck, or a disease? If it’s a disease, when and how should we treat it? How does hypertension interact with other diseases, and does race or ethnicity increase (or decrease) the risks of high BP?
This presentation will provide a brief history of our developing understanding of hypertension’s central role in cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke. In particular, it will include a selective review of the research results which have driven diagnostic and treatment guidelines and public health policies over the past century.
The presenter, Dr. Umans, is Director of the Biomarker, Biochemistry and Biorepository Core and of the Field Studies Division at MedStar Health Research Institute Over the past 14 years, his primary research focus has been on the staggering disparities in cardiovascular disease and related disorders that affect American Indian and Alaska Native populations nationwide.
This free webinar is part of the Native-CHART Webinar Series. Native-CHART (Native-Controlling Hypertension And Risk Through Technology) aims to improve control of blood pressure and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders with diagnosed hypertension. The research center is housed within the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) at WSU.
KaHOLO: Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Native Hawaiians
The KaHOLO project was designed to reduce blood pressure in Native Hawaiians by promoting the practice of traditional forms of dance. Chronic high blood pressure – also known as hypertension – is a serious risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians are 70% more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to suffer a stroke. They also develop heart disease about 10 years earlier than people in other racial and ethnic groups. Based on halau hula training, the KaHOLO project was developed by biomedical scientists in collaboration with Kumu Hula (traditional hula teachers). This project is a five-year effort to assess whether traditional Hawaiian practices can re-establish health and well-being. It consists of a physical activity intervention in which participants dance the hula and receive education on heart health. Participants will attend hula classes for six months and receive coaching on how to make healthy changes a permanent part of their lives.
KaHOLO is a collaboration between the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the University of Hawaii and Partnerships for Native Health at Washington State University. The researchers have brought this program from Hawaii to benefit Native Hawaiians living in Washington State. Very few public health programs in Washington address the health needs of Pacific Islander communities. This is the first time that Partnerships for Native Health has offered such a program. Recruitment of participants has already started. In August we will begin classes in the cities of Tacoma and Federal Way in Washington.
Compared to other races, American Indians experience a heavier burden of risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure (hypertension), Type 2 diabetes, and smoking. Medications are widely prescribed to lower blood pressure. However, adopting low-sodium, heart-healthy diets – collectively known as DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) – has been shown to lower blood pressure with or without medication. In addition, these evidence-based dietary approaches can be more cost-effective and sustainable than daily medication. The basic DASH diet is simple. It calls for eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while cutting back on foods high in salt. Researchers with Partnerships for Native Health recently launched a study to test the effectiveness of the DASH diet in two urban Native populations. The overall study name is Diet Intervention for Hypertension: Adaptation and Dissemination to Native Communities. We will conduct a randomized controlled trial at each urban site to compare outcomes in two different study groups.