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It's not clear why more blacks develop those problems so early, Bibbins-Domingo said. Possible explanations range from income and social environment to genetics, she added.
Another mystery: Researchers told those who were diagnosed with high blood pressure to see their doctors about it. But 10 years into the study, the condition was untreated or poorly controlled in 3 out of 4 black patients diagnosed.
That's likely a failure by both doctors and patients, said Dr. Eric Peterson, a Duke University professor of medicine who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.
Treatments need to be effective and affordable, and doctors also must follow up with patients to make sure they're taking their medicines and, if they aren't, find out why and address the obstacles, he added.
"We as physicians are so quick to say it's the patients' fault. But I would argue the system has failed," Peterson said.
On the Net:
New England Journal: http://nejm.org/
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