THE DISPROPORTIONATE toll that many categories of disease take on black men and women in the United States is particularly evident in hypertension.
The prevalence of hypertension is twice as high among black persons as whites. A black person with hypertension is two to three times more likely to have a stroke than a white counterpart, and 17 times more likely to progress to end-stage renal disease (W. D. Hall, E. Saunders, N. B. Shulman, Hypertension in Blacks, Chicago, Yearbook Publishers Inc, 1985, pp 17-36).
Does this indicate some subset of genetic factors? Is environment the key determinant? Why the difference? The First National Interdisciplinary Conference on Hypertension in Blacks, held in Atlanta this spring, was organized as a step toward trying to find out.
This first step was deemed to be so successful that, as a follow-up step, a second, international, conference—also interdisciplinary—on hypertension in