Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Heart disease risk factors are widespread among Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States, with 80% of men and 71% of women having at least one risk factor for heart disease, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health

The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS-SOL) is the largest study to date to examine the prevalence of heart disease risk factors — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and smoking—within a diverse Hispanic/Latino population. Findings from HCHS-SOL also showed that the prevalence of risk factors varies across and within Hispanic/Latino populations. For example, people of Puerto Rican background experienced higher rates of heart disease risk factors compared to other Hispanic/Latino groups. Participants who were more acculturated (born in the United States or lived in the United States for 10 years or longer or preferred using English rather than Spanish) were significantly more likely to have three or more risk factors as well as self-reported heart disease or stroke. And those with lower education or with annual incomes less than $20,000 were more likely to have multiple heart disease risk factors than those with higher education and incomes. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Hispanic/Latino people in the United States. In related news, researchers from the NIH-supported Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study found that black men and women were about twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease (CHD) compared with their age-matched white counterparts. Black women had a higher incidence of fatal and nonfatal coronary disease than white women. The current analysis, spearheaded by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also showed that the disparity in CHD deaths between blacks and whites is due largely to an excess burden of known cardiovascular risk factors among blacks. None of the participants had evidence of CHD at baseline and they were followed for four years. As shown in previous studies, death was far more likely to be the first indication of CHD in blacks than it was in whites.

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