Heart Disease and African Americans

While heart disease is the leading cause of death for all Americans, heart disease develops earlier and deaths from heart disease are higher in African Americans, due in part to risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. 

The statistics are sobering: in 2018, African Americans were 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites. Although African American adults are 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, they are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to have their blood pressure under control. In addition, African American women were nearly 60 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, as compared to non-Hispanic white women.

The risk factors for heart diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and sleep disorders are more common in African Americans even at a young age. Social and economic factors may include cost barriers and difficulty accessing quality health care, and higher poverty rate, and poor diet quality.