Heart Disease and Stroke Disparity

The CDC keeps track of many different health data sets. One of these is called potentially preventable deaths. This is something of a confusing public health term.  The number of these potentially preventable deaths can be thought of as a public health goal. If all people received appropriate and timely treatment or effective public health intervention, the potentially preventable deaths would equal zero. To complicate this term even more, there are certain risk factors that are considered modifiable or controllable as a way to potentially prevent a death from things like heart disease and stroke by lowering the risk of a cardiac event or a stroke. Those risk factors are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. This is one of the current public health prevention strategies for the outcome disparities like Black men being over-represented in potentially preventable death from heart disease and stroke. As we discussed last week, disparities are complex problems with many factors, and public health workers know that effective prevention efforts must be combined with increased access to quality treatment to address them. 

Interested in information about health disparities in Philadelphia? Join us next Friday for a webinar about lower limb amputations presented by Dr. Marcelin. Register here: http://bit.ly/rgdple

Title: Black men are at highest risk of dying early from heart disease and stroke

Two bar charts are shown, one for men and one for women. The X-axis is labeled with different racialized categories, and the Y-axis is labeled preventable deaths per 100,000 people.

For the “men” bar chart, the numbers (or preventable deaths) are as follows:

Black: 143

American Indian/Alaska Native: 90

White: 81

Hispanic: 63

Asian Pacific Islander: 47

For the “Women” bar chart, the numbers are:

Black: 78

American Indian/Alaska Native: 46

White: 36

Hispanic: 30

Asian Pacific Islander: 22

Source: the national vital statistics system, US Census Bureau, 2010