Intersectional Discrimination and Change in Blood Pressure Control Among Older Adults: The Health and Retirement Study.

TitleIntersectional Discrimination and Change in Blood Pressure Control Among Older Adults: The Health and Retirement Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsSims, KD, Smit, E, G Batty, D, Hystad, PW, Odden, MC
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology: Series A
ISSN Number1758-535X
Keywordscardiovascular, Health Disparities, Risk Factors, Socioeconomic issues

BACKGROUND: Associations between multiple forms of discrimination and blood pressure control in older populations remain unestablished.

METHODS: Participants were 14 582 noninstitutionalized individuals (59% women) in the Health and Retirement Study aged at least 51 years (76% non-Hispanic White, 15% non-Hispanic Black, 9% Hispanic/Latino). Primary exposures included the mean frequency of discrimination in everyday life, intersectional discrimination (defined as marginalization ascribed to more than one reason), and the sum of discrimination over the life span. We assessed whether discrimination was associated with a change in measured hypertension status (N = 14 582) and concurrent medication use among reported hypertensives (N = 9 086) over 4 years (2008-2014).

RESULTS: There was no association between the frequency of everyday discrimination and change in measured hypertension. Lifetime discrimination was associated with higher odds of hypertension 4 years later among men (odds ratio [OR]: 1.21, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.08-1.36) but not women (OR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.86-1.13). Only among men, everyday discrimination due to at least 2 reasons was associated with a 1.44-fold (95% CI: 1.03-2.01) odds of hypertension than reporting no everyday discrimination, reporting intersectional discrimination was not associated with developing hypertension among women (OR: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.70-1.20). All 3 discriminatory measures were inversely related to time-averaged antihypertensive medication use, without apparent gender differences (eg, OR for everyday discrimination-antihypertensive use associations: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.77-0.94).

CONCLUSIONS: Gender differences in marginalization may more acutely elevate hypertensive risk among older men than similarly aged women. Experiences of discrimination appear to decrease the likelihood of antihypertensive medication use among older adults overall.

Citation Key12248
PubMed ID34390331
PubMed Central IDPMC8824637
Grant ListU01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States