Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the main cause of death in the world. It accounts for about 17.3 million deaths annually. The figures are projected to increase. It is also the leading killer in the US where about 375,000 Americans succumb to it every year. In every 90 seconds, CVD kills an individual in America. However, the prevalence of CVD is unbalanced with respect to the different ethnic and racial factions. Other than being the most vulnerable, minority ethnic groups also face more difficulties when accessing CVD diagnosis and management relative to the Native Americans. The imbalance is associated with various factors such as low socioeconomic status, genetics, and mental factors. This paper focuses on one of the minority ethnic groups namely Hispanics/Latinos. The paper discusses the frequency of CVD risk factors that affect the community.
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The Prevalence and Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Diseases among Hispanics
Demography of Latinos and CVD
According to the US Census Bureau (2012), the number of Hispanics/Latinos has grown significantly in the recent years. Currently, the community is the most populated minority group in the US. The group forms 15 percent of the American population. Experts predict that it will hit 20 percent by 2050 (The US Census Bureau, 2012). The Latino community is diverse in nature. It comprises individuals who are Americans by birth and immigrants who come from different countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Cuba among others. Most of the Latino people reside in California, Arizona, and New York.
Latino is a young population with only a small portion of the population above the age of 65. It is estimated that 47 percent of the Hispanics are below the age 26. Moreover, a considerable number of Hispanics have not accessed quality education. Only 13.8 percent of the population has a Bachelor’s Degree (The US Census Bureau, 2012). Lack of proper education implies that most of the people have low income. They cannot qualify for professional jobs. The situation has made most of them live under poverty and lack insurance covers. Compared to other races, this group forms the highest percentage of uninsured Americans. About 30.7 percent of the ethnic group has no health insurance cover. Most of the Latino immigrants are also undocumented. This lack of their records makes it difficult for them to access eligible treatment (The US Census Bureau, 2012).
Evidence shows a looming danger for the young population, as the prevalence of CVD is expected to ascend in the future. A study by Daviglus (2012) also indicates that the vulnerability to cardiac ailments differs among the Hispanic population. After a series of studies, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the available data is insufficient to establish the level of prevalence of CVD and in particular diabetes among the Latino/Hispanic community (Lopez & Golden, 2014). The primary hindrance is because of Latinos’ undocumented population. Nonetheless, the research by Daviglus (2012) has also examined the risk factors within the diverse community. As indicated earlier, issues such as low-income and lifestyle of Hispanics have also been seen to influence the regularity of the risk factors. However, little evidence is available to substantiate this information (Daviglus, 2012).
This paper will
- Examine the prevalence of risk factors for CVD among the Hispanics
- Determine the link between socio-economic status, lifestyle, duration of residing in the US, and heart diseases.
Findings from Literature Review
The main factors that increase the vulnerability of suffering CVD, as per medical experts such as Mozaffarian (2015), include smoking, physical inactivity, high blood cholesterol, obesity/overweight, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus.
Mozaffarian (2015) asserts that smoking tobacco is among the top three issues that increase the chances of developing heart problems. It is estimated that the world records 6300 new smokers daily. In terms of smoking, the state of Latinos is consistent with the world trends. According to information collection by the American Heart Association in 2013, Latino students are less likely to report cases of smoking unlike the other minority ethnic/racial groups and the indigenous Americans (Mozaffarian, 2015). Moreover, African-Americans are more willing to take steps to avoid or control their smoking habits than the Latinos. According to Giardina (2013), while 61% of African-Americans are ready to quit smoking, only 42.4% of the Latino students are prepared to renounce their smoking habits. This mannerism implies that the rate of smoking is likely to increase (Giardina, 2013). Young children will soon become addicts of smoking tobacco. This practice is likely to increase their chances of suffering from CVD. The percentage of adults who take tobacco is also considerably high with an estimated 16.6% males and 6.7% females being involved in smoking activities (Schneiderman, 2014). Tobacco smoking can solely act as a risk factor. It can also work unanimously with other risk factors to increase the prevalence of heart problems. Smoking causes hypertension that in turn reduces the ability of the blood to transport oxygen. This situation increases the amount of carbon monoxide in the body. The subsequent disproportion of oxygen in the body hastens the chances of getting myocardial infarction (Mozaffarian, 2015).
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Medical practitioners have observed that physical activity keeps the heart healthy. It also enhances the flow of blood in the body while at the same time reducing blood cholesterol, hypertension, and blood sugar levels. Despite the benefits of physical activity, statistical observations show that some Hispanics are physically inactive (The American Heart Association, 2013). The American Heart Association (2013) reveals that the rate of women who are physically inactive stands at 27.3% while that of the men is at 12.1%. Hispanics come second after the African-Americans where girls are the main victims of physical inactivity. Physical inactivity has increased among the young Hispanics mainly because of increased use of computer and watching television. Moreover, by 2013, roughly 17% of adults accomplished the wellbeing standards as set by the Federal Physical Activity Guidelines (Mozaffarian, 2015).
Obesity is closely associated with several heart problems such as hypertension, increased blood cholesterol, and diabetes. Despite the dangers of obesity, several Latino men and women are obese because of living unhealthy lifestyles. About 41% and 38% Latino boys and girls respectively are either overweight or obese (Schneiderman, 2014). In the case of adults, records show that about 80 percent of men are either overweight or obese while the rate of women stands at 76.3 percent (Schneiderman, 2014). The most affected Latino community is the Puerto Rican people. The huge population of obese and overweight Latinos makes CVD a crisis that should be handled with urgency by the relevant authorities (Schneiderman, 2014).
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder that develops because of an elevated degree of sugar in the blood. Diabetics often face various heart problems. The disorder has links with increased cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, as well as obesity. The occurrence of diabetes among Latino grownups stands at approximately 13% for males and 12% for females. It is worth noting that most of the Latinos live with diabetes, yet they are undiagnosed if not undocumented (Mozaffarian, 2015).
Hypertension occurs where the heart has to use an extra force to pump blood to the body to supply oxygen and nutrients through the arteries that often resist blood movement. It poses a high risk to the heart by causing problems such as stroke, cardiac failure, and kidney damage. According to Mozaffarian (2015), approximately 30% of men of the Latino ethnic community struggle with hypertension. The number rises in the case of women where an approximated 31 percent have high blood pressure. Among the heterogeneous Latino community, Puerto-Rican Americans have the highest population that has hypertension while Cubans have the least number (Mozaffarian, 2015).
High blood cholesterol
Increased amount cholesterol in the blood can cause the development of plaques that interfere with blood circulation. Eventually, it leads to cardiac arrest and other heart problems. Despite its dangers, several Hispanics have recorded a high concentration of cholesterol in their blood. Recent statistical observations reveal an estimated 46% of men who have 200 mg/dL of cholesterol in their bloodstream and 43% of women who have a similar concentration (Mozaffarian, 2015).
The available literature shows how socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and the period that one has resided in the US affect the level of prevalence and risk factors for CVD. For instance, according to Giardina (2013), Latinos who have resided in the US for long to the level of acclimatizing to its culture have no issue with obesity, unlike the new immigrants. This claim follows the normality with which most Americans view the issue of overweight/obesity. With such views, Latinos who have lived in the US for several years find themselves adopting unhealthy lifestyles, thus increasing their vulnerability to CVD (Lopez & Golden, 2014).
The socioeconomic status also influences the frequency of various risk factors of heart diseases. Hispanics who live under poverty and/or have a poor education are more likely to suffer from CVD compared to well-to-do people. Foremost, lack of education makes it difficult for a chunk of Hispanics to determine the signs of a cardiac problem. Moreover, the low income that many Hispanics get is insufficient to purchase and renew health insurance covers. Uninsured Latinos do not visit hospitals frequently for checkups. Subsequently, they remain undiagnosed. The few who are diagnosed do not receive proper health attention because they are uninsured (Schneiderman, 2014).
A case study that was conducted comprising Latinos from various states affirmed the status of the prevalence of the risk factors as revealed by various studies. The participants comprised Hispanics from the age of 18 to 74 and several residents of California, New York, Arizona, and New Mexico. The participants came from households that had been selected randomly from specific selection blocks. After the selection had been conducted, the participants for the case study were requested not to smoke or engage physical activity within 12 hours of conducting the study. The purpose of this measure was to ensure that none of the activities of the participants interfered with their health status. Blood samples and their Body Mass Index (BMI) were then used to determine the prevalence of major risk factors of CVD. Moreover, data was collected via questionnaires and interviews to determine issues such as the participants’ socioeconomic status, their period of residing in the US, health history, and eating habits. The information was then evaluated in line with various risk factors.
The results showed a high overweight/obesity among the Hispanics. Puerto Rico was the most affected. Physical inactivity was high, in particular among female participants. Television watching and the increased use of computers are among the main causes of physical inactivity. Cases of hypertension were relatively high. The implication is that most of the participants were either struggling with heart problems or a likely CVD. It was also evident through the study that the risk factors were interrelated such that the presence of one risk was likely to trigger the existence of another. For instance, obesity is likely to trigger hypertension, increased cholesterol in the blood, and/or encourage physical inactivity. Furthermore, the lifestyle, socioeconomic status, and other social factors are likely to increase the frequency of the risk of factors of CVD.
Journal to publish the paper
This paper will be published in the Diabetes Care Journal. Diabetes Care focuses not only on issues that involve the diagnosis, management, and treatment of diabetes but also other heart health problems. The journal comprises several papers that discuss the prevalence and risk factors of CVD on various racial/ethnic groups in the US, including the Hispanic/Latino community. While many studies have focused on the prevalence and risk factors of CVD, few researchers have comprehensively focused on the prevalence and spread of CVD among the diverse Latino community. Moreover, other social and economic issues such as education, income, and acculturation have not been discussed comprehensively. This paper seals this gap in research. Publishing it in Diabetes Care will make the paper easily accessible to all readers since they associate the topic of the paper with the title of the journal.
CVD is not only the leading cause of mortality in the US Latino/Hispanic community but also the world. This paper has discussed the frequency of some of the risk factors of CVD among the Hispanic community. It has also examined how other factors such as socioeconomic status, acculturation, and lifestyle increase the frequency of suffering heart problems. It was evident that the rate of obesity (out of the other risk factors) is high among Latinos. There is a need for relevant stakeholders to take measures to control obesity. Moreover, it is evident that the risk factors are interrelated. Thus, the existence of one risk factor causes the rise of another. The paper has also provided a case study to affirm the studies that have been conducted by other scholars. The paper should be published in the Diabetes Care Journal since it is easily accessible with respect to the topic.
Daviglus, M. (2012). Prevalence of Major Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Cardiovascular Diseases among Hispanic/Latino Individuals of Diverse Backgrounds in the United States. JAMA, 308(17), 1775-1784.
Giardina, E. (2013). Cardiovascular Disease Knowledge and Weight Perception among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Women. Journal of Women’s Health, 22(12), 1009-1015.
Lopez, L., & Golden, S. (2014). A New Era in Understanding Diabetes Disparities among U.S. Latinos-All Are Not Equal. Diabetes Care, 37(1), 2081–2083.
Mozaffarian, D. (2015). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 131(1), 29-322.
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The US Census Bureau. (2012). Projected Population by Single Year of Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States. Web.
Schneiderman, N. (2014). Prevalence of Diabetes among the Hispanics/Latinos from Diverse Backgrounds: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Diabetes Care, 37(1), 2233-2239.