Population-based approaches to understanding disparities in cardiovascular disease risk in the United States
Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
Abstract: This is a comprehensive narrative review of the literature on the current science and evidence of population-level differences in risk factors for heart disease among different racial and ethnic population in the US. It begins by discussing the importance of population-level risk assessment of heart disease in light of the growth rate of specific minority populations in the US. It describes the population-level dynamics for racial and ethnic minorities: a higher overall prevalence of risk factors for coronary artery disease that are unrecognized and therefore not treated, which increases their likelihood of experiencing adverse outcomes and, therefore, potentially higher morbidity and mortality. It discusses the rate of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in minority communities. Minority patients with ACS are at greater risk of myocardial infarction, rehospitalization, and death from ACS. They also are less likely than nonminority patients to receive potentially beneficial treatments such as angiography or percutaneous coronary intervention. This paper looks at the data surrounding the increased rate of congestive heart failure in racial and ethnic minorities, where the risk is related to the prevalence of comorbidities with hypertension or diabetes mellitus, which, in combination with environmental factors, may largely explain congestive heart failure disparity. The conclusion is it is essential that health care providers understand these various communities, including nuances in disease presentation, risk factors, and treatment among different racial and ethnic groups. Awareness of these communities' attributes as well as differences in incidence, risk factor burdens, prognosis, and treatment are necessary to mitigate racial and ethnic disparities in heart disease.
Keywords: heart disease, health disparities, hypertension, acute coronary syndrome
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