We're all at risk for heart disease and stroke. However, certain groups—including African Americans and older individuals—are at higher risk than others. With 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes happening every year in the United States, it's important to know the risks.
Heart Disease and Age
Many people mistakenly think of heart disease and stroke as conditions that only affect older adults. However, a large number of younger people suffer heart attacks and strokes. About 150,000 people who died from cardiovascular disease in 2009 were younger than age 65. Heart Disease and Race
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States for adults of all races. However, there are big differences in the rates of heart disease and stroke between different racial and ethnic groups. Some minority groups are more likely to be affected by heart disease and stroke than others—which contributes to lower life expectancy found among minorities. As of 2007, African American men were 30% more likely to die from heart disease than were non-Hispanic white men. African American adults of both genders are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure and 10% less likely than their white counterparts to have their blood pressure under control. African Americans also have the highest rate of high blood pressure of all population groups, and they tend to develop it earlier in life than others. Heart Disease and Gender
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women, killing nearly 422,000 each year. Following a heart attack, approximately 1 in 4 women will die within the first year, compared to 1 in 5 men.