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Why are black people more likely to develop heart disease?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Blacks are more likely to develop heart disease and to die from it than whites, Latinos, and Asian Americans. In fact, when adjusted for age, death rates from heart disease are 30% higher in black men than white men, and 40% higher in black women than in white women. One reason behind these trends may be the high rates of high blood pressure among blacks. Experts also believe that a number of other factors may explain the disparity, such as education and economic differences, both of which can affect access to appropriate medical care, and unique stressors such as discrimination. As a result, despite advances in medical treatments for heart disease, life expectancy remains approximately five years higher in whites than in blacks.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.