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  • Writer's pictureAdaeze Umeukeje

Racial or Ethnic Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease

Despite the evident decline in cardiovascular mortality, disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) remain one of the most prevalent public health issues in the United States today. Health disparities lie within different ethnic, racial, geographical, and socioeconomic backgrounds. These disparities are associated with multiple risk factors such as genetic and physiological factors and social determinants of health, including access to care, income, education, and communication barriers. Recognizing and accounting for these different risk factors to treat an evolving population is essential to achieving continued healthcare advancements [1].

Cardiovascular Disparities among African-Americans

Among the U.S. African-American population, disproportionate rates are clear in various CVDs such as heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary heart disease, and peripheral arterial disease [1]. African-Americans are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure and are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Furthermore, African-Americans are 30% more likely to die from heart disease. They also have a higher rate of heart failure [4]. African-American males have the highest overall mortality rate from CVD. This disparity is also prevalent among African-American females, as their death rates from cardiovascular disease are higher than those of White females.

Cardiovascular Disparities among Asian-Americans

Although data on the CVD risk factors for Asian-American subgroups is limited, studies have shown that Asian-Americans and whites are alike when it comes to traditional cardiovascular risk factors [1]. Non-traditional risk factors for CVD, such as differences in inflammatory markers and insulin resistance, are common among South Asians. Previous studies have shown that South Asians were less likely to undertake systematic screening than White males. Korean, Vietnamese, and Filipino-American men have some of the highest smoking rates. This smoking issue contributes to many of the cardiovascular disparities amongst Asian-Americans, especially men.


Have earlier screening for heart disease (Asians & Pacific Islanders) [1].


Get increased CVD screening and prevention.


Provide patients with access to cross-cultural communication and linguistically-suitable healthcare and education materials [2].


Have an increased number of minorities (racial & ethnic) who work in healthcare [2].


Get better hypertension access to suitable intervention and increased cognizance of stroke symptoms (African Americans) [2].


Increase community-based research and collected healthcare data by disparity indicators, race, and ethnicity [4].


African-Americans are nearly twice as likely to die from strokes and are much more likely to die from one than whites [1].


From 1999 to 2017, mortality rates for CVD decreased for all racial and ethnic groups [6].


The coronary disease occurs earlier in life for Asian-Indians than in any other ethnic group [1].


Graham, Garth. “Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease Risk in the United States.” PubMed Central (PMC), Aug. 2015,

Mensah, George A. “Eliminating Disparities in Cardiovascular Health.” American Heart Association, 15 Mar. 2005,

Mensah, George A., et al. “State of Disparities in Cardiovascular Health in the United States.” American Heart Association, 15 Mar. 2005,

“Cardiovascular Health in African Americans.” Professional.Heart.Org, 23 Oct. 2017,

American Heart Association. “CVD Health Disparities.” Www.Heart.Org, Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.

“Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Heart Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Apr. 2019,

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