Health hotline - coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease, more than all forms of cancer combined, is the leading cause of death among African-American women in the U.S. According to the National Black Women's Health Project, African-American women are 30 percent more likely to die of a heart attack and 79 percent more likely to die of a stroke than White women. More than any other group, Black women are more likely to be affected by heart disease due to the presence of risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity and obesity. The more risk factors that are present, the greater the likelihood for developing heart disease.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reflect the prevalence of risk factors within the African-American community, specifically among Black women. More than 30 percent of African-American women suffer from high blood pressure, more than 50 percent are overweight, and 46 percent have high cholesterol levels. Diabetes, the fastest-growing risk factor for heart disease in the United States, is considered an epidemic, and Black women are 1.7 times more likely to suffer from diabetes than White women.
A family history of heart disease or stroke, previous heart attack, stress and age are also possible risk factors. Additionally, doctors say loss of estrogen following menopause contributes to the risk of heart disease.