We're all at risk for heart disease and stroke. However, certain groups—including African Americans and older individuals—are at higher risk than others. With 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes happening every year in the United States, it's important to know the risks.
Many people mistakenly think of heart disease and stroke as conditions that only affect older adults. However, a large number of younger people suffer heart attacks and strokes. About 150,000 people who died from cardiovascular disease in 2009 were younger than age 65.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States for adults of all races. However, there are big differences in the rates of heart disease and stroke between different racial and ethnic groups. Some minority groups are more likely to be affected by heart disease and stroke than others—which contributes to lower life expectancy found among minorities.
As of 2007, African American men were 30% more likely to die from heart disease than were non-Hispanic white men. African American adults of both genders are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure and 10% less likely than their white counterparts to have their blood pressure under control. African Americans also have the highest rate of high blood pressure of all population groups, and they tend to develop it earlier in life than others.
Resources specific to supporting African Americans are below:
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women, killing nearly 422,000 each year. Following a heart attack, approximately 1 in 4 women will die within the first year, compared to 1 in 5 men.
Men and women of all economic backgrounds are at risk for heart disease and stroke. However, individuals with low incomes are much more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke than their high-income peers.
This discrepancy is due to numerous factors, including early life environment, quality of health education, availability of nutritious food, proximity to recreational facilities, cultural and financial barriers to seeking treatment, and accessibility of cardiovascular care.
Depression has been found to be a risk factor for development of heart disease. Depression occurs in up to 20% of people with heart disease, and has been found to be a risk factor also for subsequent heart attack, the need for cardiac procedures, hospitalization, and mortality. Fortunately, depression in patients with heart disease responds well to treatment with either medication or counseling.
For more information about mental health, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention/.
Stroke is among the five leading causes of death for people of all races and ethnicities. But the risk of having a stroke varies. Compared to whites, African Americans are at nearly twice the risk of having a first stroke. Hispanic Americans' risk falls between the two. Moreover, African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to die following a stroke than are whites.
The country's highest death rates due to stroke are in the southeastern United States.
Approximately 49% of adults have at least one major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Below is the percentage of U.S. adults with heart disease and stroke risk factors in 2005–2006.
|High Blood Pressure||30.5|
American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is proud to join forces with Million Hearts® to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Discover your 10-year risk of heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease… and what you can do about it.