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Minorities Have More of a Chance for Heart Disease

Education and prevention may be your answer to celebrating more birthdays. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. This is true for all races. Even though the death rates from heart disease are going down overall, they are still higher among minorities. Compared to whites, the death rate for heart disease among African Americans is 36 percent higher in men and 38 percent higher in women.

Often, minorities are dying from heart disease at younger ages–before age 65.


How to Find Out Your Risk for Heart Disease

Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension, and being very over weight or obese are all risk factors for heart disease. Minorities, especially African Americans, have higher rates of these diseases.

Find out if you are at risk for heart disease by visiting the following:  

Knowing the risk factors and signs of heart disease and taking steps to prevent heart disease may be your answer to celebrating more birthdays. You can make small changes every day to lower your chance of heart disease.


What You Can Do to Prevent Heart Disease 

Although there are excellent ways to treat heart disease, the best way is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of heart disease!

  • Quit smoking. Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease.

  • Find a primary care doctor and visit your doctor at least once a year — more often if necessary. Your doctor can find heart problems before they become serious.

  • Learn about heart disease and discuss it with others. It is important to know what heart disease is and what puts you at risk. Know your family history and share it with your loved ones.

  • Be active every day! You need to exercise to keep your heart healthy. Start an exercise program and get moving. Any change whether big or small is a positive step towards a healthy heart. 

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Avoiding sugars and salts can reduce your blood pressure as much as medications.


Happy Birthday to You!


Related Resources:

African American Health Center
Heart Attack Risk Assessment
Heart Disease and African Americans

CDC 2009. Health United States, 2008. Table 71. [PDF | 8.2MB]


Hope Through Research – You Can Be Part of the Answer!

Many research studies are underway to help us learn about eye diseases. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:

This article originally appeared in Ohio State University Medical Center’s Heart Newsletter and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission.

For more information:

Go to the African American Health health topic.