Document Type



Chronic hypertension is a prevalent endemic disease throughout the Caribbean area. The present research examines the complex assortment of biogenetic, environmental, and cultural factors contributing to blood pressure variations in the people of the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. Data include vital statistics registers and census materials of the Bahamas Ministry of Health and Bahamas Cabinet Office, a computerized anthropological health survey of Bimini, interviews with indigenous healers and herbalists, and blood pressure readings obtained from 167 Bimini adults. Hypertension (blood pressure of 145/90 mm Hg and above) was encountered in 32.3% of the Bimini sample. Hypertensive subjects were significantly older and heavier than normotensives. The etiology, development, and distribution of high blood pressure in the Bahamas is influenced by the combined effects of inbreeding and genetic drift, the sub-tropical climate, excessive intake of salt in saline drinking water and a seafood-based diet, and the use of contraceptive tablets, cigarettes and alcohol. The successful employment of antihypertensive medicinal plants to control blood pressure in the Bahamas has been recently supplemented by the use of synthetic prescription drugs.