Young Blacks More Likely to Die of Heart Disease

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By Cile Waller

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Young blacks are much more likely to die of heart disease before the age of 50 than young whites, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers found the people who are at greatest risk of dying are those who experience high blood pressure, obesity and systolic dysfunction -- impaired ability of the heart to contract -- before the age of 35.

In the 20-year study that involved more than 5,000 blacks and whites of both sexes who were between 18 and 30 years old at the start of the study, researchers found that 1.1 percent of black women, .09 percent of black men, .09 percent of white women and 0 percent of white men died from heart failure before the age of 50.

Among black men and women, independent predictors at 18 to 30 years of age of heart failure occurring 15 years later included: higher diastolic blood pressure; higher body-mass index; lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; and kidney disease.

Three-quarters of those who eventually developed heart disease had high blood pressure by the time they were 40 years old.

SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, 2009;360:1179-1190

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