Heart disease risk factors greater for women, blacks
A new study from the American Heart Association provides more evidence of who's at greatest risk for developing cardiovascular disease. The results, published in Circulation, show women are at a higher risk for heart disease than men, and that blacks have an increased risk compared to white people.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital examined population attributable risk (PAR) for five adjustable heart disease risk factors: high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. PAR measures the commonality of a risk and how much it plays a role in increasing heart disease risk. The goal of the study was to see if education and health awareness about risk factors can have a positive effect.
Analyzing 13,541 people from Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, individuals ages 52 to 66 had four examinations during four time periods between 1987 and 1998. The researchers calculated the influence of each adaptable PAR risk factor over a 10-year period.
The PAR risk factors remained constant for African-Americans but decreased for white populations. Diabetes and high blood pressure were found to play a larger role in heart disease risk for women than men and in blacks compared to white people. Obesity remained a consistent risk factor. But the researchers did find that the number of smokers and people with high blood pressure has decreased in recent years.