Heart Disease: Minority Women’s Number One Killer

Minority women are 66% less apt to be aware of symptoms and risks of heart disease than women who are white. In addition, even when minority women are aware, they are less apt to seek treatment or do something that would help reduce their risk, says a new study recently published.

Minority women on average have a larger number of health risks that are cardiovascular related than any other group of women. Over 80% of women who are African American and more than 70% who are Hispanic are obese or overweight, compared to only 50% of women who are white. Only 10% of all minority women have lifestyles that are physically active. Minority women also are more apt to suffer diabetes and high blood pressure in high numbers.

Making the problem worse, minority women experience poor heart health or risk factors at a younger age compared to other women, said researchers. Although just a small percentage of Latino women suffer heart disease, fewer than 30%, they usually develop the symptoms up to 10 years earlier than women who are white.

Getting a diagnosis and then treatment at times is more difficult because of language deterrents from mistrust and miscommunications of the healthcare system, said one researcher.

If an interpreter is not available to help the patient and doctor communicate, researchers said it is usually a guarantee that some amount of information will not be understood. In addition, researchers believe many doctors unfortunately tend to label most women who are non-English speakers as over-reactors and hysterical and the result from that is care suffers.

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