Story by: Sara Thompson on November 9, 2021
Younger African Americans are more likely to have conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes that among white people tend not to show up until much later in life, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Among the study’s findings:
High cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease are closely linked, so it is important to understand good and bad cholesterol and how it affects your body. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to have a simple blood test done.
The cholesterol test checks your levels of:
No race or ethnicity is immune from health issues including high cholesterol, but research suggests some groups have higher risk factors for some conditions or appear to be more likely to develop some conditions than others.
“Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to the gap in health differences between African Americans and whites,” the CDC concluded in the 2017 study that used data from 1999 to 2015.
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Risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can contribute to heart failure, may go unnoticed and untreated among younger African Americans, according to the CDC. Factors such as high poverty can limit access to health care, early diagnosis and treatments that can contribute to longer, healthier lives.
The CDC reports that about 1 in 5 adolescents have unhealthy cholesterol levels, and nearly 93 million U.S. adults ages 20 or older have high cholesterol. But since high cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, many people don’t know their levels are high.
Steven Patton, D.O. and Community Medical Director recommends getting cholesterol checked early, “Children and adolescents should have their cholesterol checked, especially if there is a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, or if the child or teen has diabetes or is overweight.”
The 2018 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines recommend that cholesterol management be based on a person’s lifetime cardiovascular risk. For adults, testing is recommended:
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