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Black adults are more susceptible to developing early atherosclerosis, an artery disease caused by the build-up of fats, than young Hispanic adults, according to a new study.
Released on July 11 in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, the study, titled “Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Young, Socioeconomically Vulnerable Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Black Adults,” was conducted by a group of researchers from different institutes around the world; the institutes included the Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares.
To conduct the study, the researchers performed vascular ultrasound examinations on 436 adults that had an average age of about 38 years old; of the study’s research group, 147 participants were Black while 289 were Hispanic. In their findings, the researchers found that 9% of the participants had subclinical atherosclerosis, an early indication of the disease. Of all the racial groups, Black participants recorded rates of fat buildup in arteries at twice the level of Hispanic participants, even after lifestyle factors, age, body mass index, hypertension, socioeconomic conditions and diabetes were factored in.
“These findings may in part help to explain the observed differences in cardiovascular disease prevalence between racial and ethnic groups,” Dr.Valentin Fuster, MD, Ph.D., the Director of Mount Sinai Heart and leader of the study, said to News Medical. “The study further contributes to the understanding of higher rates of cardiovascular disease observed at an early age in disadvantaged communities.”
While cardiovascular diseases are the most prominent causes of death for people in most racial and ethnic groups, they’re particularly an issue for Black adults. In the 2021 National Vital Statistics Report by the CDC, they found that, in 2018, out of 100,000 deaths, an average of 212 Black Americans passed away from heart disease. Meanwhile, white Americans recorded an average of 168.1 deaths out of 100,00 as a result of heart disease.
While heart disease afflicts both Black men and women, studies have shown that Black women deal with some type of the disease at slightly higher rates than men. According to the American Heart Association, while 44% of Black men have a form of heart disease, 49% of Black women are recorded as dealing with the same issue.
Overall, each year, an average of 50,000 Black women pass away from heart disease as only 58% of the women report that they’re knowledgeable about what the symptoms and signs are.
Although Black women are more at risk, only 36% reported that they’re aware that heart disease is a major issue for them.