Your Ethnicity and Cardiovascular Disease

Are You At Risk? About 50 percent of African-American adults have at least one of the three primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease: smoking, high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol. In fact, 48 percent of African-American women and 44 percent of African- American men already have cardiovascular disease.

Why It Matters- Heart disease is a serious, life-threatening illness. More people die of cardiovascular disease than any other cause. And, since many of the signs of heart disease are not noticeable, many African-Americans do not realize they already have heart disease — until it’s too late.

Fortunately, many heart disease risk factors are things YOU can control. That means you have the power to reduce your risk for heart disease, improve your health, enhance the quality of your life and possibly even live longer.

How Many Of These Cardiovascular Risk Factors Do You Have?
  • I am overweight or obese.
  • I do not get enough physical activity.
  • I have high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • I smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products.
  • I have a family history of heart disease.
  • I am a man over age 45 or a woman over 55.
  • I have been diagnosed with heart disease.
Talk to your doctor TODAY.

Your doctor can help you prevent heart disease. Ask your doctor:

  1. What are MY risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and why?
  2. What screenings or tests are right for ME?
  3. What actions can I take to decrease MY risk for cardiovascular disease?
  4. What are MY cardiovascular health goals?
Fast Stats

African-Americans have a gene that makes them more sensitive to the effects of salt. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which raises your risk for heart disease.

Approximately 50 percent of African-Americans have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is more severe — and develops earlier — in African-Americans. Furthermore, fewer than 50 percent of African-Americans with high blood pressure have it under control.

  • One in five African-American adults smokes cigarettes.
  • More than three-quarters of non-Hispanic black women are overweight or obese.

African-Americans are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. Uncontrolled and undiagnosed diabetes puts African-Americans at greater risk for cardiovascular disease.

Health Information provided by Crouse Health. For more information go to