Black Women and Heart Disease


Anchor lead: New research is trying to tease out why young black women in the US may experience higher rates of cardiovascular problems. Elizabeth Tracey reports.

Black women experience higher rates of preeclampsia, a dangerous condition affecting blood pressure, while pregnant than other ethnicities. Garima Sharma, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, is trying to find out why.

Sharma: We looked at the rates of cardiovascular risk factors and preeclampsia in non-Hispanic black women. We differentiated non-Hispanic black women into US born black women and foreign born black women. The US born black women had more preeclampsia, worse cardiovascular health. We also found that when these foreign born black women had lived in the US for greater than 10 years their risks of preeclampsia and cardiovascular risk factors were closer to US born women than those that were in the US for less than 10 years.  :32

Sharma notes that many things change with immigration, often including diet, exercise, social support, and stress. She says for now, all black women should be carefully monitored while pregnant for the development of preeclampsia. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.