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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chest Pain Complaints Continue to Increase Among African Americans

Man having chest pains

Chest pains should never be ignored. They are often the early signs of heart disease. Much information has been published and introduced into the media over the past 20 years about the importance of recognizing heart attack symptoms which are often precipitated by chest pains, otherwise known as angina. Although angina has reportedly decreased among whites, it has not decreased among Blacks.

Research findings

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, angina attacks by whites age 40 and older actually decreased by one third over the period from 2001 to 2012. But research by the organization showed that there has been no decrease in the incident rate of angina among Blacks. It remains the same.

Possible reasons for the difference

Researchers point to a need for Blacks to pay more attention to health problems that can lead to coronary heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, Blacks have higher risks of high blood pressure and diabetes and a higher use of tobacco. These risk factors indicate a greater need for them to pay closer attention to these health factors. Doing so could result in decreasing their risk for heart disease.

The importance of addressing health risk factors as well as not ignoring the signs of heart disease is stressed by Julie Will, a senior epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who authored the study, "Angina serves as a warning to both the patient and the doctor that a person may have underlying heart disease."
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