According to a study published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, younger black men and women are significantly more at risk than their white counterparts to develop heart failure before reaching 50 years of age.
Although the authors of the study cautioned that more research is needed, because the initial conclusions are based on a small number of heart failure cases, some doctors believe that this clearly is a sign that medical professionals need to be more aggressive with black patients on this issue.
The study found that one in 100 black men and women developed heart failure before reaching the age of 50--20 times the rate for white people. More than 5,100 blacks and whites between the ages of 18 and 30 in Chicago, Minneapolis, Birmingham, AL, and Oakland, CA joined in the study more than 20 years ago. Since that time, 27 people--26 of which were black--developed heart failure before reaching age 50, with five of those patients--all black--dying.
For more on this study:
- read this Associated Press article