Diabetes, Hypertension Contribute to Blacks’ Increased Risk of Heart Failure; Group Also Has Weaker Heart Functionality, Research Finds
Addressing hypertension and diabetes among blacks likely would reduce the group's risk of heart failure, according to a report presented Tuesday at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in New Orleans, HealthDay/Austin American-Statesman reports. For the study, lead researcher Hossein Bahrami, a senior cardiology fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues studied 7,000 adults ages 45 to 84. They found that blacks developed heart failure at a rate of 4.6 cases per 1,000 individuals annually -- higher than all other races. Chinese-Americans had a rate of one heart failure case per 1,000 individuals annually, and the rate for whites was 2.4 cases per 1,000 people annually. However, when excluding diabetes and hypertension, there was almost no racial difference in heart failure rates, researchers found. They noted that blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed with diabetes and more than one-third more likely than whites to have hypertension. Bahrami in a statement said the findings suggest that "warding off heart failure in African-Americans requires aggressive treatment of diabetes and hypertension," adding, "Whether through increased screening or greater emphasis on drug therapies, these are two risk factors that must be brought under control" (HealthDay/Austin American-Statesman, 3/27). The same study also found that blacks have weaker heart functionality than whites, Chinese-Americans and Hispanics. Chinese-Americans had the highest muscle contraction strength, and whites and Hispanics were only slightly lower, according to the study. Co-author Veronica Fernandes said, "Weaker muscles make you more at risk for sudden death and heart failure. So controlling risk factors like weight, smoking, diabetes and hypertensive disease is important" (Emery, Baltimore Sun, 3/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.