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Dec 08, 2014

Asian Americans Face Greater Risk for Stroke and Hypertension

Asian Americans face higher risk for stroke and hypertension compared to whites, finds study.

Asian Americans are at higher risk for stroke and hypertension compared to whites, according to a study examining U.S. death records from 2003–2010. 

Although heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, certain races and ethnicities face higher cardiovascular risk than others. Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, yet little is known about heart risks in distinct subgroups of the Asian American population. 

Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a recent study analyzed death records for the six largest Asian-American subgroups: Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. Together, these subgroups make up 84% of the Asians in the United States. 

After comparing U.S. death rates from 2003–2010, researchers found that stroke and high blood pressure was more common among every Asian American subgroup compared to non-Hispanic whites. Compared to whites, Asian Indians and Filipino men also had greater mortality from coronary artery disease—a condition that occurs when the heart’s arteries narrow, often due to the plaque build-up on the arterial walls. 

Based on these findings, authors highlight the need to direct specific treatment and prevention efforts to reduce health disparities in the Asian-American population. If Asian Americans face greater risk of hypertension and stroke, it’s important to address these risk factors to prevent complications and improve outcomes. And with a current population of more than 18 million that is projected to reach 34 million by 2050, addressing cardiovascular risk factors in this rapidly growing population will have a meaningful impact on improving the heart health of the U.S. population.
Read the full study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Questions for You to Consider

  • What are health disparities?
  • Health disparities refer to differences in health outcomes or burdens of disease between groups of people. Health disparities can exist between different populations of race, sex, income, or even geographic location. In health care, the goal is to eliminate these differences so all individuals have the same ability to achieve good health.
  • Am I at risk for heart disease?
  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States. We can control some factors that increase risk for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and overweight/obesity. There are also cardiovascular risk factors we can’t control, like age, race and family history. It’s important to assess cardiovascular health with your doctor and address any risk factors that increase risk for heart disease.

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