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

September 5, 2013
©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.

Explore further: Racial and ethnic disparities in awareness of heart disease risk in women

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

Related Stories

Which women should be screened for high cholesterol?

May 20, 2013

National guidelines recommend that at-risk women be screened for elevated cholesterol levels to reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease. But who is 'at risk?' The results of a study by investigators at the ...

Recommended for you

Cholesterol test for one-year-olds? Study says it could help

October 26, 2016

What if a blood test could reveal that your child is at high risk for early heart disease years in the future, giving you a chance to prevent it now? A big study in England did that—screening thousands of babies for inherited ...

Are vegetarian diets heart-healthier?

October 18, 2016

(HealthDay)—Vegetarians are assumed to be healthier than carnivores, but a new study questions that assumption. It found meat eaters had no significantly greater risk of heart disease over 10 years compared to those who ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.