What Black Americans Need to Know About Heart Disease
You may know that heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States. But did you know that the risks are even higher for Black Americans?
Fast Facts: Black Americans & Heart Disease
- Black Americans are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke than White Americans.1
- Black women (49%) and Black men (44%) have higher rates of heart disease than White men (37%) and White women (32%).1
- Between the ages of 45 and 64, Black men have a 70% higher risk and Black women have a 50% greater risk of developing heart failure than White men and women.2
- The earlier onset of heart failure means higher rates of hospitalization, earlier disability, and higher rates of premature death (death before the age of 65) for Black Americans.2
- The annual rate of first heart attacks and first strokes is higher for Black Americans than White Americans.1
Fast Facts: Black Americans & Risk Factors
- The prevalence of high blood pressure (hypertension) in Black Americans is among the highest in the world, and it is increasing. Rates are particularly high for Black women.1
- In addition, Blacks develop high blood pressure earlier in life and their average blood pressure numbers are much higher than Whites. As a result, Blacks have a 1.3-times greater rate of nonfatal stroke, a 1.8-times greater rate of fatal stroke, a 1.5-times greater rate of death attributable to heart disease than Whites.1
- Black Americans are 77% more likely than White Americans to be diagnosed with diabetes.1
- Black and Hispanic adults are more likely to be inactive 39.4% and 39.8%, respectively) than White adults (26.2%).1
- Black (80%) and Mexican-American (78%) women are more likely to be overweight or obese than White women (60%).
Take Charge of Your Heart Health
Although the statistics above paint a troubling picture of Black Americans and heart disease, all is not lost! There are three simple things you can do to reduce your risk for heart disease, starting today.
- Know your risk factors. Although your can't change your age or heredity, there are many other risk factors for heart disease that you can control.
- Talk to your doctor. At your next doctor's appointment, bring our list of questions and a heart health scorecard to help assess your risk for heart disease.
- Reduce your risk. Making simple, healthy lifestyle changes can reduce your risk for heart disease.
Download educational documents and presentations:
- Black Americans: Heart Disease and You (Presentation)
- Questions to Ask Your Doctor (PDF)
- My Heart Health Card (PDF)
- Top 3 Myths About Heart Disease in America (Infographic)
Read related health topic articles:
- "Think Again" About American Heart Month
- Tips for Minorities to Reduce Risk Factors for Heart Disease
- National Minority Health Month: Think Again About Heart Disease
- Down with High Blood Pressure
- Think Again About Stroke This May
- Heart Smarts Cardiovascular Health Conditions
- National Diabetes Month: Raise Awareness, Reduce Risk
- Six Basic Questions for Your Healthcare Provider
Get more facts about Black Americans and heart disease from:
- American Heart Association
- Association of Black Cardiologists
- National Medical Association
- National Minority Quality Forum
- The Office of Minority Health
This information is not a substitute for medical care. Please consult a doctor or health care provider.