Risk factors for coronary heart disease in African American women

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There have been few studies of risk factors for coronary heart disease in African American women. The authors investigated factors associated with prevalent coronary heart disease in data provided by participants in the Black Women's Health Study. In 1995, 64,530 US Black Women aged 21-69 years completed postal health questionnaires. The 352 women who reported having had a heart attack (cases) were frequency matched 5:1 on age with 1,760 women who had not (controls); medical record review for 35 cases indicated that two- thirds had a heart attack and the remainder had other coronary heart disease. Odds ratios, obtained from multiple logistic regression analyses, were significantly elevated for cigarette smoking, drug-treated hypertension, drug-treated diabetes mellitus, elevated cholesterol level, and history of heart attack in a parent. High body mass index (kg/m2) was associated with coronary heart disease in the absence of control for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and elevated cholesterol but not when they were controlled, suggesting that obesity may influence risk as a result of its effects on blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and cholesterol levels. Odds ratios increased with increasing parity and with decreasing age at first birth. These data suggest that important risk factors for coronary heart disease are similar in Black women and White women.

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