The Truth About Heart Disease In The Black Community

It is widely known that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans. While this statistic prevails across nearly all ethnicities, the impact and risks associated with heart disease are more significant among Black Americans.[2]

What is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)?
The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD). It occurs when blood vessels of the heart become narrow, making it difficult for blood to flow to the heart and increasing the risk of a heart attack.[3] When considering one’s risk of CAD, lifestyle choices can be just as important as factors that cannot be controlled, such as heredity and age.

According to a report published by the American Heart Association, the prevalence of high blood pressure among Black Americans is currently among the highest in the world, along with higher rates of obesity, inactivity and diabetes.[4] All of these are risk factors for heart disease, and by taking simple steps, you can make a significant positive impact on your own heart health.

Living a Heart Healthy Lifestyle Doesn’t Have to be Dull
Maintaining a heart-healthy diet and increasing your activity level can be accomplished with small changes. Consider swapping out plant proteins for meats, whole grains for processed carbohydrates, and fresh fruit for sweets.

While working toward a more heart-healthy lifestyle, it is also important to be educated about risk factors for heart disease and what a potential diagnosis might mean for you. For some who are diagnosed with CAD treatment may be necessary. Fortunately, there are non-surgical options to help manage CAD, including percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a minimally-invasive method of restoring blood flow in coronary artery blockages.

Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for CAD, and what lifestyle changes or treatment options may be right for you. You can also find more information and heart-healthy recipe swaps at, a resource developed by our partner Boston Scientific.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Deaths, percent of total deaths, and death rates for the 15 leading causes of death in 5-year age groups, by race and sex: United States, 2015.
2. Coronary Artery Disease. MedlinePlus. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Available at: Accessed March 2018.
3. Go AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics - 2014 update. A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2014; 129: e28-e292.

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