Cardiovascular Health in African Americans: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association

American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology; and Stroke Council

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

137 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Population-wide reductions in cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality have not been shared equally by African Americans. The burden of cardiovascular disease in the African American community remains high and is a primary cause of disparities in life expectancy between African Americans and whites. The objectives of the present scientific statement are to describe cardiovascular health in African Americans and to highlight unique considerations for disease prevention and management.

METHOD: The primary sources of information were identified with PubMed/Medline and online sources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RESULTS: The higher prevalence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors (eg, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk) underlies the relatively earlier age of onset of cardiovascular diseases among African Americans. Hypertension in particular is highly prevalent among African Americans and contributes directly to the notable disparities in stroke, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease among African Americans. Despite the availability of effective pharmacotherapies and indications for some tailored pharmacotherapies for African Americans (eg, heart failure medications), disease management is less effective among African Americans, yielding higher mortality. Explanations for these persistent disparities in cardiovascular disease are multifactorial and span from the individual level to the social environment.

CONCLUSIONS: The strategies needed to promote equity in the cardiovascular health of African Americans require input from a broad set of stakeholders, including clinicians and researchers from across multiple disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e393-e423
JournalCirculation
Volume136
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 21 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • AHA Scientific Statements
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • disease management
  • prevention and control
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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    American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology; and Stroke Council (2017). Cardiovascular Health in African Americans: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 136(21), e393-e423. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000534