Monday, October 23, 2017

African Americans tend to have shorter lives than whites - largely due to higher rates of heart diseases and strokes, according to a statement from the American Heart Association

The average white American lives to 79 years old, compared to the average black American who is expected to reach 75.5 years at most. Experts warn that there is no clearer indication of health disparity than in cardiovascular health; heart diseases killed more than two million black Americans between 1999 and 2010. While African Americans are more likely to experience many cardiovascular diseases, in particular strokes and heart failure, they are also more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases. African Americans develop nearly all cardiovascular diseases - heart attack, stroke, and heart failure - at a relatively young age. Traditional cardiovascular risk factors - high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis - are more common and start at earlier ages among African Americans. Many of the differences arise from unhealthy behaviors, lower implementation of guidelines shown to improve cardiovascular health, ingrained cultural preferences and attitudes, and lack of persistence in following lifestyle changes that need to be lifelong. African Americans also have higher rates of certain health conditions that predispose to cardiovascular disease - such as chronic kidney disease, sickle cell disease/sickle cell trait, and HIV, for example.

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