Is Heart Disease More Prevalent In African-Americans?

Question: Is Heart Disease More Prevalent In African-Americans?

Answer: Sadly the answer is yes. Cardiovascular disease is more prevalent in African-Americans. We understand some of the reasons for that. For example, African-Americans have more of the standard cardiovascular disease risk factors in some categories, like more high blood pressure. And African-American women have higher rates of obesity than other race and gender groups.

But in general, African-Americans, those people of African ancestry living here in the United States, have an earlier onset of cardiovascular disease than their counterparts in other race groups. And they have higher overall death rates from cardiovascular disease. We're working hard to research to understand reasons for this; we think that there are some good answers coming.

But in the meantime, we do know that those things that help to reduce the risk in other race groups also reduce the risk in African-Americans. And so it's really important, if you're African-American, at an early age to begin measuring your risk factors for vascular disease. So know what your blood pressure is, know your cholesterol level, get your blood sugar checked, and keep that body weight checked and in good shape.

So don't be futile about this. There's something you can do. Keep up with those risk factors and take care of them.

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