Why Are Minorities at Greater Risk for Heart Disease?
African-American men and women have
double the rate of fatal heart disease of their white counterparts of the same
age, according to an alarming new study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this week. Even
though deaths from heart attacks and heart disease have dropped since the
1970s, the decline has been steeper for whites than for blacks, “widening a
longstanding disparity,” the researchers reported.
Another study in the same issue of JAMA reports that up to 80 percent of US
Hispanic/Latino adults have one or more major risk factors for cardiovascular
disease, the leading killer of Americans. As a result, “this relatively young
ethnic group is at high risk for future CVD morbidity and mortality as it
ages,” the researchers predict.
What’s behind this deadly divide in
heart attack and stroke risk? I talked to Monika Safford, MD, professor of
medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and lead author of the
African-American heart disease study.
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