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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Being Close to Too Many Relatives is Linked to High Blood Pressure in African-Americans, Study Says

Black family reunion

African-Americans have significantly higher rates of hypertension than other racial groups, as backed by numerous research. It has been linked to several factors but a recent study concluded an unusual result. The researchers found that having many family members in one's social circle may cause high blood pressure to African-Americans.
It has been a common knowledge that having close ties with family who support each other results in positive health outcomes and better physical and mental well-being. However, a recent research conducted on African-American families living in Tallahassee, Florida turned that belief around.

The study led by University of Florida doctoral student Kia Fuller revealed a surprising result: African Americans who have a large family network also have high blood pressure. "Our results show that it is more complicated than that. Specifically, if you are called upon to give a lot of family support, it can take a toll on your health," Fuller said.

The researchers conducted interviews with 138 African Americans in Tallahassee and asked them to name at least 30 individuals that they contact regularly. The results show individuals with high blood pressure had more family members in their social circle.

Moreover, the study suggests that interacting with family members or helping to provide for their emotional and financial needs may contribute to stress that significantly impacts health in a negative way. This factor affects more African Americans compared to other racial groups considering the stress level, income, and memories of discrimination.

"Since African Americans are known to have more family members in their networks than European Americans, this result might help explain some of the racial disparities we see with hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases," said UF anthropology professor Connie Mulligan, a corresponding author of the study.
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