Here are some important
statistics about African Americans, heart disease
and stroke, and the
major risk factors
Heart disease and stroke
• Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of blacks.
• Heart and blood vessel diseases (and all other cardiovascular diseases) claim the lives of over 100,000 blacks every year.
• These diseases account for 32 percent of all deaths among blacks in the United States.
• This is the single greatest preventable cause of premature death in the United States.
• 24 percent of non-Hispanic black men smoke, and 17.2 percent of non-Hispanic black women do. That’s alarming because smokers' risk of developing coronary heart disease is 2–4 times that of nonsmokers.
• Constant exposure to someone else’s tobacco smoke — in your workplace, at home or elsewhere — increases your risk even if you don’t smoke.
High Blood Pressure
• High blood pressure has no symptoms. That’s why it’s called the “silent killer.”
• More than 42.6 percent of adult non-Hispanic black males and 46.6 percent of females have high blood pressure.
• Compared to whites, blacks are more likely to have high blood pressure, develop it earlier in life, and have more severe cases.
• Blacks are 1.5 times more likely to die from heart disease and 1.8 times more likely to die from stroke than whites.
• Blacks represent 29 percent of treated end-stage renal (kidney ) disease patients.
• Blacks are more likely than whites to have blood pressure-related kidney problems.
• Blacks are six times more likely than whites to develop high blood pressure-related kidney failure.
• If you have diabetes, you also have a significantly higher risk for kidney problems.
• About 27 percent of non-Hispanic black men and about 34 percent of non-Hispanic black women aren’t physically active.
Overweight and Obesity
• Studies show that 79.6 percent of non-Hispanic black women and 67 percent of non-Hispanic black men who are age 20 or older are overweight or obese. If you have too much fat — especially in your waist area — you’re at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Extra weight also is a major cause of gallstones, and it can worsen degenerative joint disease.
• All that excess weight puts a severe strain on your heart.
• It raises your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, and it makes you more likely to develop diabetes. That’s a triple whammy that makes your overall risk even greater.
• Diabetes is common among African Americans It’s often referred to as “sugar,” and 10 percent of non-Hispanic black males and 13.2 percent of females who are age 20 or older have it.
• Sadly, about a third of African Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it.
Source: American Heart Association