DISCLAIMER: Individuals depicted are models, for illustrative purposes only.

Heart Health

Did You Know?


Did You Know?


DISCLAIMER: Individuals depicted are models, for illustrative purposes only.

Connection between race and heart health

Your race, ethnicity, and gender may increase your risk for certain disease states. For instance, people of African descent face disproportionately high rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Not only is high blood pressure more severe in black people than white, but it also develops earlier in life. Black adults are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure but are less likely to have their blood pressure under control, when compared to non-Hispanic Caucasians. These are all risk factors for CAD and PAD. In fact, black people have twice the rate of PAD than white people at any given age. And in the United States, rates of hospitalization and mortality as a result of CAD have increased for non-Caucasians but decreased for Caucasians.

Understanding health disparities

These differences between racial and ethnic groups are called health disparities and involve the social factors that can affect a person’s health. These include having money and resources to meet basic needs, education level, access to quality health care, having a safe place to live and access to nutritious foods, and having supportive relationships free of discrimination and violence. For example, if someone doesn’t have access to healthy foods, they may be more likely to be obese which puts them at greater risk for certain health conditions. Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans are some of the groups who are often at an economic and social disadvantage, which ultimately can harm their health.

Know the risk factors you can control

While you can’t control your age, race, gender, or family history, there are other risk factors for heart disease that can be modified. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. Knowing you’re at higher risk can help you pay closer attention to your heart health and your numbers. You can work with your healthcare team to manage your condition and make healthy lifestyle changes.