Health Statistics

CVD is number one killer for all ethnic groups. However the national death rate (per 100,000 population, age adjusted and age 20 years and older) is 288; for African American males it is 454 and for females 333.6.

At age 20 years and older almost every other African American person has CVD (44.6% of men and 49% of women).

The risk to suffer a first ever stroke is almost twice as high for African Americans than for Whites.

The overall death rate for stroke (per 100,000 population, aged 20 years and older, age adjusted) is 50, for African American males it is 74.9 and for females 65.5.

A recent study (ARIC) found high blood pressure (HBP), a risk factor for CVD, is particularly powerful and destructive in African Americans, especially black women.

44.4% of African American men have HBP (age 20 and older) and 43.9% of women, compared to 34.1% in White men and 30.3% in White women.

Although percentages in awareness and treatment are relatively higher for African Americans compared to Whites, the odds of control are still about 27% lower. And control is what influences your outcome.

29% of all people with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in need of dialysis are African American (share in total population is about 14%). A major cause for ESRD is HBP.

There is not just one cause explaining these disparate statistics, it is a phenomenon influenced by many areas:

  • partly because of higher percentage in uninsured,
  • partly because of cultural differences in dealing with disease – African Americans are “under users” of the health care system, even when they are insured
  • partly because of life style and
  • partly because of different physical responses to our environment (e.g. nutrition, lifestyle, social aspects, stress).

Obviously there are aspects from that list that are easier to modify than others.