Heart disease—which includes heart failure, heart attack, and coronary artery disease—remains the number one cause of death in the United States.

Black people are twice as likely to get heart disease and 30% more likely to die from it than non-Hispanic White people, despite having similar biological risks. This is due to differential access to quality healthcare, housing, and income, within the healthcare system and in society.

In order to better understand why Black people are disproportionately affected by heart disease, we took a closer look at common heart disease risk factors and how those impact the Black community. These risk factors include:

  • Stress
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

We found that Black people over-index in these risk factors, which, therefore, puts them at a greater risk for developing heart disease.

Within this Health Divide we explore why Black people are so heavily impacted by these heart disease risk factors and possible preventive steps they can take to lower their overall heart disease risks. 

-Shamard Charles, MD, MPH, public health doctor

Health Divide

Heart Disease Risk Factors and Black People

heart disease risks health divide

Heart Disease Risks and Black People

Risk Factors

Personal Stories

Featured Resources

Verywell Health collaborated with WomenHeart and The American College of Cardiology on this destination in our Health Divide series.

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Page Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease facts.

  2. Office of Minority Health. Heart disease and African Americans.