African Americans Are At Greater Risk Of Developing Artery Disease

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Artery Disease

African Americans suffering from hardening of the arteries in their extremities, or peripheral arterial disease, are more likely to have medical conditions that lead to heart disease than Caucasians. However, fewer African Americans receive adequate treatment than their Caucasian counterparts, according to a Cleveland Clinic study.

A team led by Cleveland Clinic cardiologists Telly Meadows, M.D., and Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., reviewed more than 2,000 cases from the Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health (REACH) Registry to arrive at the findings. They presented their work at the American Heart Association's 27th Annual Scientific Session currently underway in Orlando, Fla.

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The researchers' analysis showed that African Americans with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) were more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and morbid obesity, conditions that lead to heart disease, than Caucasians. PAD affects more than 8 million Americans, according to the World Health Organization.

"Patients with PAD are more likely to suffer and die from heart attacks and strokes," Dr. Meadows said. "Prior studies have shown that African Americans are two to three times more likely to develop PAD than Caucasians. Despite this knowledge, our analysis found that African Americans with PAD are also more likely to be under-treated and are likelier to receive suboptimal treatment of their blood pressure and cholesterol than Caucasians."

Dr. Bhatt echoed the assessment.

"African Americans with PAD face a double whammy, as PAD, in general, is under-treated and our analysis from the REACH Registry finds that being African American further increases the likelihood of under-treatment," Dr. Bhatt said. "As awareness of PAD as a healthcare issue improves, these results provide a basis for the healthcare delivery system to address these disparities in care."

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