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The second study, done in England, looked at the electronic medical records of about 8,900 patients in southwest London, who are covered by that country's national health insurance system.
Researchers found black patients with high blood pressure had significantly higher readings than white or Asian patients, even though blacks were prescribed more medications.
The researchers also looked at patients who were sick with one or more conditions like heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. They found that blood pressure control was much worse in blacks than whites.
Patients' failure to regularly take their medicine may be one factor. Another may be that certain medications work better for blacks, but some doctors may be overlooking that difference, said Millett, a consultant in public health for Imperial College.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher said changes need to be made to make sure minority patients can get good medical care when they need it. But there also needs to be more done to make sure patients understand medical directions and feel comfortable asking questions when they don't.
"It's very clear we need to target our efforts to differences in" how well patients follow medical advice, said Satcher, who is now an administrator at Atlanta's Morehouse School of Medicine.
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