MUSC Heart & Vascular Center

Heart and Vascular Center

African American Women Heart Disease & Stroke Statistics

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all American women. African American women are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease than African American Women and Heart Diseaseany other ethnic group, yet they are less likely than white women to know that they may have major risk factors. Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, overweight/obesity and family history of heart disease are all greatly prevalent among African Americans and are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including stroke. Fewer than half of African American women (41%) consider themselves well informed about cardiovascular disease.*

  • African-Americans are at greater risk for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) than Caucasians.  The prevalence of CVD in black females is 44.7 percent, compared to 32.4 percent in white females.
  • African-American females and males have higher death rates from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) than white females and males.
  • High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke.  The rate of high blood pressure for non-Hispanic black females age 20 and older is 45.4 percent.
  • Compared with Caucasian women, African-American women have an 85 percent higher rate of ambulatory medical care visits for high blood pressure.
  • As many as 20 percent of all deaths in hypertensive African-American women may be due to their high blood pressure.
  • The risk of heart disease and stroke increases with physical inactivity.  Physical inactivity is more prevalent in women, African-Americans and Hispanics.  For non-Hispanic black females age 18 and older, 33.9 percent are inactive, compared to 21.6 percent of non-Hispanic white females.
  • Among non-Hispanic black females ages 20 and older, 77.2 percent are overweight or obese.
  • Of people 18 and older, 17.2 percent of black females smoke, putting themselves at increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

This information was kindly provided by the American Heart Association, ©2006, All Rights Reserved.
* Source:  Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2006 Update


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