Racial disparities in hypertension management among multiple sclerosis patients

Devon S. Conway, Farren BS Briggs, Ellen M. Mowry, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Carrie M. Hersh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hypertension adversely impacts the multiple sclerosis (MS) disease course and is more common among Black Americans. Disparities in care due to structural racism may lead to suboptimal hypertension detection and control in Black American MS patients. Objectives: To determine if uncontrolled hypertension is more common in Black or White Americans with MS and whether race impacts the likelihood of receiving anti-hypertensive treatment. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using longitudinal data from American participants in the Multiple Sclerosis Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions (MS PATHS) multi-institutional registry. Data was collected from 7 sites in the United States between May 2015 and November 2020. Patients with uncontrolled hypertension, defined as ≥2 blood pressure measurements ≥140/90 mmHg, were identified in the dataset. Racial differences in uncontrolled hypertension and odds of anti-hypertensive treatment were evaluated using logistic regression. Predictors of anti-hypertensive treatment in those with uncontrolled hypertension were determined by race. Results: The analysis included 10,673 MS patients, of whom 1,442 (13.5%) were Black Americans. Despite a lower mean age (45.7 vs. 49.2 years), Black Americans had a 31% increased odds of uncontrolled hypertension compared to White Americans. After adjustment for relevant covariates, mean systolic blood pressure was 1.84 mmHg (95% confidence interval=1.07-2.61) higher in Black Americans than White Americans, and mean diastolic blood pressure was 1.28 mmHg (95% confidence interval=0.74-1.82) higher. Black Americans were also more likely to be on anti-hypertensive therapy (OR=1.68, 95% confidence interval=1.30-2.18) and were exposed to an adjusted average of 0.61 (95% confidence interval=0.45-0.78) more anti-hypertensive treatments than White Americans (p<0.001). Age, comorbid diabetes mellitus, and comorbid hyperlipidemia were positively associated with use of anti-hypertensive treatments in all patients with uncontrolled hypertension. Conclusion: Black American MS patients have significantly increased odds of uncontrolled hypertension, but also higher odds of receiving anti-hypertensive treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103972
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Aug 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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