Heart disease and African American, reasons why African Americans are more likely to have heart disease. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, it was found that African-Americans are at a higher risk of heart failure compared to other races. Furthermore, the researchers also found that before they reach 50 years old, the heart failure rate of African-Americans is 20 times higher compared to whites. Here are five reasons behind this heart disease and heart attacks phenomenon.
1. Less Access to Healthcare
According to Anne L. Taylor, MD—a professor of Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Vice Dean of Academic Affairs—African-Americans have less access to healthcare making it difficult to treat risk factors successfully. Aside from the fact that they are less likely to consult with their physician to get routine check-ups, they are also less likely to be referred to specialist doctors, this is just one study among few regarding heart disease and African American.
Also, clinical professor in Emory University’s Cardiology division and Chief Science Officer of the Association of Black Cardiologists Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, FACC, FAHA pointed out that African-Americans tend to view diseases as the main reason to seek healthcare. In other words, they don’t go to the doctor for prevention, but rather consult with their physician when they’re already sick.
2. High Blood Pressure
The prevalence of hypertension in African-Americans is the highest in the whole world. High blood pressure increases a person’s risk to heart diseases and even brings permanent damage to one’s heart even before symptoms become evident. According to research, African-Americans may carry a gene that makes them more sensitive to salt, increasing their susceptibility to high blood pressure. Indeed, this should be a part of heart disease awareness classes that everybody must be aware of regardless of race.
Another risk factor is obesity, to which African-Americans are disproportionately affected. In fact, among non-Hispanic blacks 20 years old and above, 63 percent of males and 77 percent of women are obese. Obesity without a doubt contributes to heart disease and heart attacks in all races.
Another heart disease awareness studies should center on diabetes regardless of race. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, African-Americans tend to be more vulnerable to diabetes, which is another critical risk factor to heart disease. While diabetes can be easily prevented, many do not spot the early warning signs or do not seek treatment because of their fear of complications. For diabetes and heart disease itself, regular exercise can play a major role in burning excess calories and improving cardiovascular health. Even a half hour walk per day is enough to keep diabetes at bay.
According to the American Heart Association, 39.4 percent of African-Americans are likely to be inactive. An active lifestyle can regulate a person’s blood pressure the same way anti-hypertensive medications can do to your body and increases good cholesterol levels. Furthermore, it was found that it can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30 to 40 percent.
These are just some of the reasons why African-Americans are more susceptible to heart disease. However, it is also important to remember that regardless of your race, you too can be at risk to this silent killer. With this, it is necessary to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and maintain an active lifestyle to keep your cardiovascular system healthy. I hope you this article on heart disease and African American helped you learn the dangers of heart disease and how to prevent it no matter your race or ethnicity.