Myths About Black Women & Heart Disease

african american woman wearing a purple turtleneck making a heart symbol with the hands over her heartWhen it comes to heart disease, health statistics tend to focus a lot on men and their particular health risks. But looking at the statistics in another way, African-American women are 35 percent more likely to die of heart disease than Caucasian women, and surveys show they are far less aware of their risk factors.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and whites. For Asian American women, heart disease is second only to cancer.

In 2006, about 6.9% of all white women, 8.8% of black women, and 6.6% of Mexican American women were living with coronary heart disease.

Black women develop hypertension earlier in life and have higher average blood pressure than white women, according to HHS. Nearly half of black women have a total cholesterol number that is way too high. Nearly 80 percent are overweight or obese.

About 450,000 women suffer heart attacks each year; in fact, cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S. But the good news is that more women are surviving heart attacks. Read up on 5 heart health myths that put women at risk. Plus, test your heart health IQ with our quiz…