Race, Gender, and Hypertension: Findings from the NHANES-III
Leslie Hinkson, Georgetown University
Differential treatment regimens for hypertension by race have been recommended in the U.S. for at least three decades. Using the nationally representative NHANES-III data (1988-1994), we explore the extent to which Black and White hypertensive adults are placed on different treatment regimens, and whether this is due to differences in socioeconomic and demographic factors, relevant comorbidities, and blood biochemistry profiles. A series of logistic models - controlling for or stratified by race - are used to estimate race differences in the prevalence of five different pharmaceutical interventions for hypertension. The analyses showed persistent racial differences in the prescription of antihypertensive drugs. With some exceptions, these differences were not explained by a comprehensive set of potential socioeconomic, demographic, and biomedical mediators. An unexpected insight is the moderating effect of sex on the race differences in prescribing different medication types. Our findings suggest that race and sex act as implicit guides for pharmacological treatment of hypertension.