Black Women Experience Cardiac Death at Three Times the Rate of White Women

According to a new study by the American Heart Association, black women experience cardiac death at almost three times the rate of white women. Black adults, in general, are more likely to die from cardiac arrest than white men and women. A lack of health-related education and socioeconomic factors weigh into this issue.

Healthline.com spoke to Dr. Iclima Fergus, spokesperson for the American Heart Association and assistant professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She revealed the majority of heart disease issues in the participants of the study could have been prevented “if they had more access to resources, education, and preventative measures.”

The study focused on more than 11,000 white participants and nearly 3,900 black participants over a 30 year period in communities including Jackson, Mississippi, Washington County, Maryland, the suburbs of Minneapolis and Forsyth County, North Carolina. The study found that by age 85, 9.6 percent of black men and 6.6 percent of black women experienced cardiac death, versus that of the 6.5 percent of white men and 2.3 percent of white women who experience the same fate. Most adults experience cardiac deaths in their mid-30s to 40s.

In a press release explaining the racial disparities of the study’s results, lead author of the study Dr. Eliseo Guallar said low income and lack of education are associated with unhealthy behaviors, low disease awareness and limited access to care, and can all contribute to poor outcomes. She added additional research is needed to get a comprehensive understanding of the racial differences in cardiac health.

The Realist Woman's take:

According to the study, 325,000 people a year experience cardiac death. And the fact that black women experience cardiac death at three times the rate of white women is frightening. The disparity in healthcare and preventative measures for my community is all too real. Culturally, there needs to be a change for these numbers to decrease. We need more education on heart health, how to administer CPR, how to look for warning signs should a heart attack take place, food deserts are an issue in urban neighborhoods and so on.

All I see when I come across a story like this is black women's healthcare needs to be taken seriously. Cardiac issues are usually preventative so it makes no sense that we are dying at three times the rate of white women. This has to be addressed.