African American adults are more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease, and they are more likely to die from heart disease. Also, although African American adults are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure, they are 10% less likely than their non-Hispanic White counterparts to have their blood pressure under control.
Adding to this problem is the fact that, according to a recent survey, only 1 in 5 Americans consider themselves at increased risk for atherosclerosis–a progressive disease where plaque builds up in the arteries slowly over time. The survey also revealed that only 21 percent of respondents could correctly identify all 6 surveyed risk factors for the disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, family history of early heart disease, smoking and obesity.
This is particularly important because plaque buildup over time can lead to narrowing of the arteries, which is one of the most common causes of heart disease.