Heart disease is the cause of death in 1 in 4 African-Americans and almost half of African-Americans have some type of cardiovascular disease. The largest study on heart disease in African-Americans completed this year and the results look promising to provide a better way towards heart health.

Largest Study On Heart Disease in African-Americans Completed

The Study

The observational study done by Jackon Heart Study (JHS) began in 2000, spanning 17 years. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) funded this research and are continuing to attempt to find out the cause behind the disparities in heart health.

The study observed the health of approximately 5,300 African-Americans in Jackson, Mississippi metropolitan area. They found 3 likely causes as to why African-Americans have higher rates of heart disease.

The Findings

1. Small Spikes in Blood Pressure

The JHS found that for every 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) that increased in blood pressure, there was a 12% greater risk of death for African-Americans and a 7% higher risk to be hospitalized from heart failure.

This discovery could lead to better preventative measures and tips to at-risk blood pressure patients.

2. Gene Defect

African-Americans with a gene named APOL1 have nearly double the risk of cardiovascular disease and higher risk for kidney disease than people who do not carry this gene. About 10% of African-Americans have this gene, yet it’s quite uncommon in whites and non-African populations.

3. Sickkle Cell Trai

African-Americans with sickle cell are at a 60% greater risk of developing kidney disease than people who don’t have the trait. People with the sickle cell trait only carry one copy of the sickle cell gene, while people with sickle cell disease carry two.

This opens doors to more research regarding sickle cell and kidney disease and possible preventing kidney disease in the future.

Another finding showed that there is a specific gene called SLC30A8 that helps to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by about 65%. This gene is actually a defect, but helps to reduce the risk of diabetes significantly.

While African-Americans do have a higher risk of heart disease in certain asepcts, doctors have no magic answer to cure heart health risks. The only way to prevent it is by living by the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7.

In this way, you can be more productive and live longer by reducing your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and heart attack.