March 15, 2023

Black Adults Have a Unique Need for Preventive Heart Care

african american heart health

Clinically reviewed by: Dr. Steven Heatherly

Everyone’s heart is unique. And as a physician, I can tell you that the more you know about your one-of-a-kind heart, the better you can take care of it. While nothing can replace talking with your own healthcare provider, here is some information that will help you become heart smart.

You may have seen statistics showing that heart disease is more common among black adults than white adults in the United States. For example:

  • Black men have a 70% higher risk of heart failure compared to white men.
  • Black women have a 50% higher risk of heart failure compared to white women.

While all that is true, a new study shows that physical differences between the races are not the cause. Instead, differences in social and lifestyle factors, and even in medical care, strongly influence heart health. And that’s an important finding, because it means there’s something you can do about it.

Preventive care can have a big effect on improving heart health among black adults.

What can you do to help protect your heart?

The most important step you can take is to have regular primary care visits and get annual wellness checkups. That way, if you have any health issues, they may be found and managed early, before they can lead to serious consequences such as a heart attack or stroke. A primary care provider can also offer personalized advice on healthy exercise and eating habits that can help protect and improve your health.

Take your health needs to heart

I understand that a lot of people are skeptical about being at risk for heart disease. You may be one of them. One study showed that only one in five black women believes she is personally at risk. Yet, among black women 20 and older, nearly 50 percent have heart diseases. So it’s important to take your health needs seriously, to have a primary care provider, and to begin having regular checkups. Your heart’s health is worth it!

Talk with your primary care provider about your unique heart needs and the specialized care available at Baptist Health. If you don’t have one, Baptist Health can help you find a provider who’s dedicated to bringing you care that’s centered on you and your one-of-a-kind heart.

Learn More.