“Cardiovascular health disparities among African Americans are widely recognised, and hypertension is the most prominent risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease in African Americans,” said study author Sharon Wyatt, RN, PhD, from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. “Our findings show that attending church and praying may buffer individuals exposed to stress and delay the deleterious effects of hypertension."
The Jackson Heart Study followed 5,302 participants to evaluate the effects of religion and spirituality on both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Religion and spirituality were assessed with several questionnaires that examined organised religious activities (church attendance, watching religious television), non-organised religious activities (private prayer, meditation), religious coping (integration of religious beliefs into decision-making during times of stress), and daily spiritual experiences (interaction with God). The religion items were self-administered; other questionnaires were interviewer administered with some collected during the home induction interview in the participant’s home (personal and family health history, socioeconomic status, smoking, physical activity, and health care access).
Female gender, lower socioeconomic status, increasing age, and lower levels of cortisol were associated with more religious activities. Higher levels of religious participation were related to higher levels of body mass index (BMI) and lower levels of medication adherence. Contrary to the original hypotheses, those with more religious activities and participation were more likely to be classified as hypertensive. However, those with more religious activities had significantly lower diastolic blood pressure in an uncontrolled model, and significantly lower systolic blood pressure in a controlled model.
MEDICA.de; Source: American Society of Hypertension (ASH)