Blacks with Hypertension More Likely to Have Thicker Hearts, Study Finds

Black Issues in Higher Education, June 3, 2004 | Go to article overview

Blacks with Hypertension More Likely to Have Thicker Hearts, Study Finds


DALLAS

Researchers say they may have found a new clue as to why Blacks are at greater risk of dying from heart disease than Whites.

In the largest study of its kind, Blacks with high blood pressure were found to have thicker hearts than Whites with high blood pressure. It's a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy, or enlarged heart.

"This is a marker for increased damage to the heart and may explain why there is a more adverse outcome of cardiovascular mortality, heart attacks, stroke and heart failure among Blacks," said lead researcher Dr. Jorge Kizer, an assistant professor of medicine and public health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York.

Blacks suffer from hypertension more than other racial groups. In 2000, heart disease deaths were 29 percent higher among Blacks and stroke death rates were 40 percent higher than other groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the study, researchers assessed 1,060 Blacks and 580 Whites by measuring their blood pressure, heart wall thickness and vascular tone. The findings revealed that Blacks had a higher average of left ventricular mass index and wall thickness that persisted even after researchers adjusted for age, gender and clinical risk factors such as blood pressure treatment and artery stiffness. …

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