Why do black women have a higher risk of death from heart disease than white women?

©2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Among a group of women with symptoms of angina who were tested for a suspected coronary blockage, nearly 3 times as many black women as white women died of heart disease. The study determined whether differences in the women's angina symptoms could affect the risk of death in these two groups, and the researchers report their findings in Journal of Women's Health.

Jo-Ann Eastwood, PhD and a team of researchers from medical institutions across the U.S. found that for white women, the severity or type of anginal symptoms—whether typical chest pain or more atypical symptoms such as —did not affect outcomes. However black women tended to have more , a worse prognosis when diagnosed with heart disease, and a higher risk of related death.

In the article "Anginal Symptoms, Coronary Artery Disease, and Adverse Outcomes in Black and White Women: The NHLBI-Sponsored Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) Study," the authors conclude that these racial differences in symptom presentation for may be a barrier to correct and timely diagnosis and an important contributor to poorer outcomes for black women.

"These results indicate that we need to raise awareness among women and their healthcare providers of in anginal symptom presentation in order to improve both diagnosis and outcomes," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.

More information: The article is available free on the Journal of Women's Health website at http://www.liebertpub.com/jwh.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Risk for nonelective thoracic aortic sx up for uninsured

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Uninsured patients have an increased risk of nonelective thoracic aortic operations, and have increased risks of major morbidity or mortality, according to a study published online April 8 in ...

A global view on the prevention of cardiovascular disease

Apr 15, 2014

The United Nations and the World Health Organization pledged in 2011 to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases - most notably cardiovascular diseases - by 25% by the year 2025. It's an ambitious target, ...

Stroke healthcare inequalities remain in the UK

Apr 15, 2014

The quality of healthcare provided after a stroke remains uneven in the UK, according to a new study led by King's College London. Despite improvements in equal access to healthcare since 2001, patients from ...

User comments