Heart Risk Factors May Harm Black Women More Than Whites

High cholesterol levels can lead to a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. (iStock photo)
High cholesterol levels can lead to a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. (iStock photo)
High cholesterol levels can lead to a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. (iStock photo)

WEDNESDAY (HealthDay News) — The cluster of heart risk factors known as the “metabolic syndrome” might raise the risk of heart disease more for black women than it does for white women, a new study suggests.

Metabolic syndrome refers to having at least three health conditions — including a large waist size, high blood pressure, low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, high levels of blood fats called triglycerides, and impaired sugar metabolism — that can all work together to boost the odds of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

In the new study, a team led by Dr. Michelle Schmiegelow at University Hospital Gentofte in Denmark looked at data from more than 14,000 American women, aged 50 to 79. All were taking part in a long-term national study. About 47 percent were white, 36 percent were black and 18 percent were Hispanic.

Over 13 years of follow-up, about 1,100 of the women were diagnosed with heart disease or had suffered a stroke for the first time.

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