Question: I Have Been Told That African-Americans Require Special Medications For Heart Failure. Is This True?
Answer: Heart failure is really becoming a major public health problem. It is the one form of heart disease that is growing, and the consequences, unfortunately, are pretty substantial. Fortunately, there have been a number of discoveries that will help us treat that condition much better than ever before. And our expectations for good outcomes are much better than ever before.
However, one group of patients, the African-Americans with heart failure, don't seem to fare as well. Now there are lots of reasons for that, but one of the important steps forwards has been a better understanding of how best to treat African-Americans who have heart failure. They need to be treated with everything that everyone else is getting, no question about that, but there are some additional medicines that have been proven to be of benefit for those people that happen to be African-Americans who have heart failure.
You really should get involved with your physicians, your care providers, the nurses that are looking after you, and have a discussion about whether or not you're getting all the medicines that potentially could be of benefit. It's a delicate but important discussion because it does mean you'll be taking additional medicines, but the additional medicines can be quite helpful.
The medicines are not that different, they're not that special, it's just more medicines that need to be considered. When those medicines are taken, the outcomes actually are quite good, as good as they would be for anyone. And given the consequence of heart failure, every patient with heart failure needs to be on the best possible regimen, and that has a certain definition when you're talking about African-Americans with heart failure. Definitely discuss this with your physician.
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