Whites at greater heart disease risk than Asians in US

Washington, Jan 29 (IANS) In a comprehensive study of more than 1.3 million people in northern California that stretched over 10 years, researchers have found that blacks, Latinos and Asians had lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to whites.

Blacks, Latinos and Asians without any prior history of coronary heart disease had lower risk of coronary heart disease compared with whites regardless of whether they also had diabetes, the team found.
“Racial and ethnic differences in diabetes, cardiovascular-disease risk factors and their outcomes, especially in blacks, are well documented, but population health estimates are often confounded by differences in access to high-quality health care,” explained lead author Jamal S. Rana from Kaiser Permanente Northern California.
The ethnic composition cohort of 1,344,899 members was 64 percent white (868,301 members), 14 percent Asian (190,439 members), 13 percent Latino (169,886 members) and 9 percent black (116,273 members).
Members were aged 30 to 90 years, included both men and women, and were followed from 2002 through 2012.
“We were able to evaluate ethnic differences in risk of future coronary heart disease within a diverse population which included not only black but also large Asian and Latino populations,” Rana noted.
The results may reflect not only access to high-quality heart disease care but also systematic efforts by the health plan to improve risk factors such as high blood pressure and promote smoking cessation across its member population, the authors wrote in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Among members with prior coronary heart disease and no diabetes, blacks had slightly increased risk of future heart disease compared to whites.
However, no such increased risk was noted in the highest risk group with both prior history of heart disease and diabetes.
Latinos did not have any difference in risk compared to whites in both of these groups, and Asians had decreased risk.
“It is a complex issue and further research is needed to address the differences in health status and outcomes related to race and ethnicity across the country,” Rana pointed out.