Saturday, September 21, 2019

Hispanics Among Minorities at Risk for Heart Disease at Normal Weight

According to a study published this week by the Annals of Internal Medicine, people of Hispanic, African American, and Asian descent could be at a higher risk for heart disease, even if they are not overweight or obese, in comparison to their non-minority counterparts. The research concluded the likelihood was 80 percent greater for Hispanics and 50 percent for blacks and people of Chinese descent.

“The major takeaway would be just for individuals who are members of race-ethnic minority populations to be aware of this increased risk and to have conversations with physicians or healthcare providers about their increased risk,” said Unjali Gujral, a postdoctoral fellow with the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center and the study’s lead author.

The study’s message focuses on the dangers of using overweight and obesity as criteria for possible heart disease; clinicians are likely to miss a large number of prone individuals, particularly in the race-ethnic minority populations that are high risk but normal weight. The study estimated Body Mass Index (BMI) for each race and ethnic group that would be equal to the same number of heart health risk factors as someone who is white with 25.0 BMI, the low end of overweight.

In all groups, the study found that certain factors like education, age, and where fat is stored in the body explained why someone would be at normal weight yet still have a high risk of cardiovascular disease. “What these factors didn’t explain were the differences in this high cardiometabolic risk in normal weight people across ethnic groups,” Gujral added.

The study hopes to create dialogue among patients and doctors, so that people of color with normal weight know the importance of getting regularly screened for factors considered risks for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

NBC News