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AHA News: The Link Between Structural Racism, High Blood Pressure and Black People's Health

High blood pressure. Structural racism.

What do they have in common?

Researchers say they are two of the biggest factors responsible for the gap in poor heart and brain health between Black and white adults in the United States. And they are inextricably linked.

Studies show high blood pressure, also called hypertension, affects Black adults – particularly women – earlier ...

COVID Plus 'Bleeding' Stroke Doubles a Patient's Death Risk

'Bleeding' stroke patients with COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to die as those without COVID-19, new research shows.

For the study, a research team from the University of Utah analyzed data from 568 hospitals in the United States. They compared a control group of more than 23,300 patients without COVID-19 who suffered a bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke to 771 COVID-19 patients who ha...

Black Women Are Dying of COVID at Much Higher Rates Than White Men

COVID-19 death rates are significantly higher among Black American women than among white men, according to a new study, suggesting that race is a factor in survival differences between men and women.

Researchers analyzed COVID death rates in Michigan and Georgia, the only states reporting data by age, race and sex.

"This analysis complicates the simple narrative that men are dying ...

Canada's Menthol Cigarette Ban Boosted Quit Rates: Would the Same Happen in U.S.?

Could banning menthol cigarettes be key to lowering smoking rates overall?

New research suggests it's possible, after finding that a ban on menthol cigarettes in Canada was linked to a large increase in the number of smokers who quit.

The impact of the menthol ban in Canada suggests that a similar ban in the United States would have even greater benefits since menthol cigarettes ar...

Jail Dims Hopes for Recovery for Young People With Mental Illness

Being jailed puts teens with untreated psychiatric disorders at increased risk for long-term mental health struggles, researchers say.

"These are not necessarily bad kids, but they have many strikes against them," said study lead author Linda Teplin. "Physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect are common. These experiences can precipitate depression. Incarceration should be the last resort....

Public Lost Trust in CDC During COVID Crisis: Poll

Americans' trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, an opinion poll finds.

Researchers polled more than 2,000 Americans in May 2020 and questioned most again five months later. Respondents were asked to rate their trust of the CDC, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on a low-to-h...

Black Americans Often Face Discrimination in Health Care

Black Americans are much more likely to report discrimination or unfair judgment when seeking health care than whites or Hispanics, researchers report.

"Discrimination and unfair judgment in a health care setting can result in serious ramifications to health and have cumulative adverse effects on people's lives," said study author Dulce Gonzalez, a research associate at the Urban Institut...

COVID Drove 23% Spike in U.S. Deaths In 2020

COVID-19 was the major cause of a nearly 23% increase in U.S. deaths during the last 10 months of 2020.

Researchers noted that the rate of excess deaths in the United States -- those above the number that would be expected based on averages from the previous five years -- tends to be consistent at about 1% to 2% a year.

But between March 1, 2020 and Jan. 2, 2021, excess deaths rose ...

Too Few Minorities in U.S. Health Care Workforce: Report

Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are significantly underrepresented in U.S. health professions, with little indication that diversity will improve, a new study says.

In 2019, Black people made up about 12.1% of the U.S. workforce, but their representation in 10 health professions studied ranged from 3.3% for physical therapists to 11.4% for respiratory therapists.

"Our finding...

Black Adults Face 4 Times the Odds for Stroke as Whites

Once Black Americans reach age 40, their blood pressure often begins a rapid climb, putting them at significantly higher risk of stroke than their white counterparts, a new study warns.

Middle-aged Black people have roughly four times the stroke risk faced by white Americans, according to the analysis of data from nearly 5,100 patients.

"High blood pressure is the single most import...

Black Patients Often Treated at Hospitals With Poorer Safety Records: Report

Compared with white patients, Black adults are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to hospital safety in the United States, a new report warns.

Black patients are significantly less likely to gain access to "high-quality" hospitals, an Urban Institute analysis found. As a result, they're much more likely to undergo surgical procedures in facilities with relatively poor safety records...

Diabetes Is Deadlier for Black Americans: Study

Black people have higher diabetes death rates than white people in the 30 largest cities in the United States, a new study finds.

But placing a cap on the price of insulin could narrow that racial gap, according to researcher Joanna Buscemi, of DePaul University in Chicago. Insulin medication is needed by all people with type 1 diabetes and many who have type 2, the more common form of th...

Why Are Half of U.S. Kids With Mental Health Issues Not Getting Treatment?

Over half of high-risk children in the United States are not receiving behavioral health services critical to their mental, emotional and physical well-being, new research warns.

"It's a pretty simple and kind of widely agreed upon finding that there are a lot of at-risk kids, when you look at it in terms of adversities or symptoms, who aren't getting mental health services, behavioral he...

1 in 5 Colorado Teens Has Easy Access to a Gun: Study

About 1 in 5 Colorado high school students has access to guns, according to new study from the Colorado School of Public Health.

The research -- published March 29 in the Journal of Pediatrics -- is being released after recent mass shootings in Atlanta and in Boulder, Colo.

"Our findings highlight that it is relatively easy to access a handgun in Colorado for high school st...

Gen X, Millennials in Worse Health Than Prior Generations at Same Age

Medicine may have advanced by leaps and bounds over the last century, but Generation X and millennials are in worse health than their parents and grandparents were at their age.

That's the conclusion of a new study that looked at markers of physical and mental health across the generations.

And overall, there has been a downhill slide over time: Gen X'ers and millennials were in wor...

High Vitamin D Levels May Help Prevent COVID-19, Especially in Black Patients

Vitamin D -- better known as the "sunshine vitamin" -- might protect you from COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Researchers said that the protection is particularly potent among Black people.

While vitamin D levels of 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or more are typically considered sufficient, Black people who had levels of 30 to 40 ng/ml had nearly triple the odds of testing posi...

Black Women More Prone to Postmenopausal Weight Gain Than White Women

Black American women are more likely to gain weight after menopause than white women, and a number of factors may underlie the difference, researchers say.

They analyzed data from nearly 71,000 American women who had gone through menopause and were enrolled in a long-term health study.

The analysis found that Black women were more than 50% more likely to have a weight gain of 10% af...

World's First Face Transplant in a Black Patient Brought Special Challenges

Robert Chelsea needed a new face, having lost most of his in a horrific Los Angeles traffic accident years ago.

But Chelsea is Black, and the process to give him the first-ever face transplant wound up posing novel challenges for his doctors, according to a new report.

It took four times as long to find Chelsea a suitable donor than it typically does for white patients, doctors said...

Vision Problems Are On the Decline for American Seniors

Serious vision problems among older Americans have declined sharply, and the improvement has been greatest among women, folks over 85 and seniors who are Black or Hispanic, a nationwide study shows.

"The implications of a reduction in vision impairment are significant," said study first author ZhiDi Deng, a pharmacy student at the University of Toronto in Canada. "Vision problems are a ma...

Racist 'Redlining' Policies Leave Legacy of Stroke for Black Americans

Discriminatory housing practices from nearly a century ago continue to influence a person's risk of suffering a stroke, claims a new study that reveals the legacy of structural racism in the United States.

Researchers found a 1.5% higher rate of stroke within census tracts in Columbus, Ohio, most heavily marked for "redlining," compared to neighborhoods in the city least affected by housi...

Many More Older Americans Willing to Get COVID Vaccine: Poll

Older Americans are far more willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine than they were last fall, a new survey shows.

The survey was conducted in late January. It found that 71% of adults aged 50 to 80 said they're ready to get vaccinated when a dose is available to them, or that they'd already been vaccinated.

That's a significant increase from 58% last October found by the National Poll on...

American Indians Face the Highest Odds for Stroke

While strokes strike many Americans, a new study shows the risk is particularly high among American Indians.

Researchers already knew that American Indians had the highest risk of atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heartbeat ("arrhythmia") that can increase the risk of blood clots and stroke.

The new study found that American Indians had a 47% higher risk of having a non-ble...

U.S. Hispanics at High Heart Disease Risk and Many Go Untreated: Report

Even after suffering a stroke, many Hispanic Americans still have uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure or other conditions that raise their risk of a repeat one, a new study finds.

The study involved 404 Hispanic adults with a history of stroke or "mini-stroke," which is a brief reduction in blood flow to the brain that can foreshadow a full-blown stroke. The researchers found that ...

'Rerouting' Brain Blood Flow: Old Technique Could Be New Advance Against Strokes

Doctors are testing a decades-old surgical technique as a new way to treat certain stroke patients. And the preliminary results look promising, they say.

At issue are strokes caused by intracranial atherosclerosis, where blood vessels within the brain become hardened and narrowed.

Strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, depriving tissue of oxygen and nutrients...

Many Blacks, Hispanics Believe They'll Get Worse Care If Dementia Strikes

Black and Hispanic Americans already face higher risks for dementia than the general population. Many also believe they'd get worse dementia care compared to white patients, according to a new Alzheimer's Association special report.

Older Black Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer's or another form of dementia as older white people, and older Hispanics are about 1.5 times...

Pandemic Unemployment Has Taken Its Own Deadly Toll

With U.S. deaths from COVID-19 passing the grim milestone of a half-million, a new study suggests that another 30,000-plus Americans have died due to pandemic-related unemployment.

Using various data sources, researchers estimated that number of deaths between April 2020 and March 2021 could be attributed to pandemic-fueled job losses.

And in a pattern that's been repeatedly seen, B...

U.S. Flu Vaccinations Hit New Record High This Season

While many Americans await their turn for the COVID vaccine, a potentially record-setting number have already had their flu shot.

That's the key finding in a nationwide poll of more conducted in December by the University of Georgia, involving more than 1,000 adults . In all, 43.5% of respondents said they had already had a flu shot, 13.5% said they would "definitely" get one; and 9.3% s...

Education Level Now Prime Driver of COVID Vaccine Hesitancy: Poll

In the early weeks of the U.S. vaccine rollout, race looked like it would determine who was willing to get a shot in the arm, but education level now plays the most powerful role in that decision, new research shows.

More than three-quarters of adults with at least a bachelor's degree have been vaccinated or plan to be, compared to 53% of those without a college degree, according to a new...

Mental Health 'Epidemic' Threatens Communities of Color Amid COVID-19

Communities of color face a burgeoning wave of mental health problems as a result of how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people interact and grieve, experts warn.

"We're about to have a mental health epidemic because of COVID," Vickie Mays, a professor of health policy and director of the UCLA Center on Research, Education, Training and Strategic Communication on Minority Health...

Why Is Liver Cancer More Lethal for Black Patients?

Black people with hepatitis C develop liver cancer sooner than people in other racial groups and the cancer is often more aggressive, but current screening guidelines may not be broad enough to catch these cases early, according to a new study.

Why? Despite often being more advanced, liver cancer in Black people is slower to cause liver damage and scarring, and current guidelines call for...

Lupus More Deadly for Asian and Hispanic Americans: Study

More Asian and Hispanic people with lupus die prematurely than white patients, a new study reveals.

Death rates in San Francisco were nearly six times higher than expected among Hispanic patients with lupus and four times higher than expected among Asian women with lupus, the researchers found.

The higher death rate among racial and ethnic minority groups might result from more seve...

Communities of Color Struggling to Get Vaccines to Those in Need

The greatest threat from COVID-19 has been for Black and Hispanic Americans, who are three times more likely to be hospitalized and about twice as likely to die from an infection with the novel coronavirus, compared with white people.

Now, street-level community groups are stepping in with innovative ways to overcome longstanding racial disparities in health care and help step up vaccinat...

COVID-19 Caused U.S. Life Expectancy to Drop by 1 Full Year

In a sign that the coronavirus pandemic is cutting short the lives of Americans, a new government report finds that average life expectancy in the United States took a drastic plunge during the first half of 2020, particularly among Black and Hispanic people.

Overall U.S. life expectancy dropped to 77.8 years, down one full year from the 78.8 years estimated in 2019.

Declines were e...

Insight Into Why a Prostate Cancer Therapy Works Better for Black Men

Higher levels of a certain type of immune cell may explain why immunotherapy for prostate cancer is more effective in Black men than in white men, researchers say.

The finding could lead to immunotherapy-based precision treatment for localized aggressive and advanced prostate cancer in all races.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 1,300 prostate tumor samples and found that, on...

1 in 3 Americans Delayed, Skipped Medical Care During Pandemic

If you've put off or skipped needed medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic, you've got plenty of company.

More than a third of U.S. adults say they have delayed or gone without care either because they fear exposure to the virus or because health care services are harder to come by, two new surveys found.

The same reasons led nearly as many parents to avoid care for their kids.

Blacks, Hispanics at Higher Risk of COVID Death in U.S. Nursing Homes

U.S. nursing homes have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the toll on Black and Hispanic residents has been especially harsh, a new study confirms.

Researchers found that COVID-19 death rates were more than three times higher at U.S. nursing homes with the highest proportions of Black and Hispanic residents, compared to those with mostly white residents.

The study, of more...

As Pot Legalization Spreads, More Teens Are Lighting Up

As pot gains in acceptance among adults, teenagers appear to be more tempted to try it, a new study out of California finds.

After the state legalized marijuana use for adults in 2016, teens' use of the drug also climbed after years of steady decline.

Researchers analyzed survey data from more than 3 million seventh-, ninth- and 11th-graders, who answered questions about their ...

Segregation, Poverty Tied to Worse Outcomes for Black Lung Cancer Patients

Racial segregation may help explain why Black Americans with lung cancer do more poorly than their white counterparts, a new study suggests.

For years, U.S. studies have documented racial disparities in lung cancer. Black Americans are less likely to receive surgery for early-stage lung cancer -- the standard of care -- and they typically die sooner.

The reasons, however, are not fu...

Why Do Black Children Get Fewer Scans When They're Seen in ERs?

Black and Hispanic children who land in the emergency room are less likely than white kids to receive X-rays, CT scans and other imaging tests, a new study finds.

Looking at more than 13 million ER visits to U.S. children's hospitals, researchers found that white children underwent imaging tests one-third of the time.

That was true for only 26% of visits made by Hispanic children, a...

Race Affects Outcomes for Young Heart Transplant Patients

Heart transplants may be particularly risky for young Black Americans, with new research suggesting they are twice as likely to die after they receive their new organ.

To reach that conclusion, researchers analyzed the outcomes of nearly 23,000 adults, aged 18 to 80, who had a heart transplant in the United States between 2005 and 2017.

Compared to other heart transplant recipi...

Race Plays Role in Kids' Food Allergies: Study

Black American children have higher rates of shellfish and fish allergies than white children, a new study finds.

The research confirms the important role that race plays in children's food allergies, the study authors said.

"Food allergy is a common condition in the U.S., and we know from our previous research that there are important differences between African American and white ...

Legacy of Racist Neighborhood 'Redlining': Fewer Healthy Green Spaces Today

A racist mortgage appraisal practice used in the United States decades ago has resulted in less green space in some urban neighborhoods today, researchers say.

Those so-called "redlined" neighborhoods have higher rates of air and noise pollution, racial segregation and poverty -- all of which can contribute to poorer health.

In the 1930s, the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) gav...

Discovery Could Explain Why Black Americans More Prone to Colon Cancer

New research reveals why Black Americans might be more vulnerable to colon cancer than white people are.

The researchers examined age-related "epigenetic" changes in colon tissue. These changes affect how genes work.

The investigators found that in both Black and white people, one side of the colon ages biologically faster than the other. But the side that ages faster is different, ...

When Will You Go Gray? Your Race Matters

Could the color of your hair as you age be determined by the color of your skin?

Yes, according to new research that suggests race plays a role in when and how your hair goes gray.

The scientists conducted a search of 69 publications to review what's known about changes in hair as people age, focusing on the differences according to ethnicity.

They analyzed data on hair s...

Meth Overdose Deaths Are Surging in America, With Minorities Most at Risk

Deaths from overdoses of methamphetamine are rising across the United States, especially among Blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives, a new study warns.

"While much attention is focused on the opioid crisis, a methamphetamine crisis has been quietly, but actively, gaining steam -- particularly among American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are disproportionately affected by a number ...

More Than 200,000 Americans Have Lupus

Just over 200,000 Americans have the autoimmune disorder lupus, and minority women are at highest risk, according to a new study.

It's the first estimate of how widespread the disease is in the United States. The number comes close to reclassifying lupus as a rare disease, defined as an illness affecting 200,000 Americans or fewer, the researchers said.

"Our study potentially redefi...

Health Care After COVID: Racial Disparities Laid Bare

Deidre Johnson spends her days leading a center that provides resources to help Black people in her community overcome health disparities and other societal challenges.

She understands the impact this can have. As a mother of two and a Black woman, Johnson faced discrimination in the hospital when her sons were born and she experienced postpartum preeclampsia, a serious medical condi...

COVID Pandemic Shortened U.S. Life Expectancy by More Than a Year

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly shortened life expectancy in the United States, especially among Black people and Hispanics, a new study says.

With more than 336,000 COVID-19 deaths nationwide last year, researchers decided to examine the pandemic's impact on life expectancy.

The projection: Due to pandemic deaths, life expectancy at birth for Americans will shrink by 1.13 years...

Many Americans Don't See Links Between Racism,  Health Outcomes: Poll

Many Americans most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic don't believe that racism is associated with poorer health, a nationwide poll shows.

The ongoing poll of more than 4,000 lower- and middle-income Americans focuses on communities of color.

"It really struck us that -- despite the virus's spread across the country to all types of communities -- there's not a consensus view on the ...

Black Patients at Higher Risk When Type 1 Diabetes and COVID Combine

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted health care disparities in the United States, but a new study puts that issue into sharper focus, finding that Black and Hispanic people with type 1 diabetes who get COVID-19 are much more likely to have serious complications or die.

The study found that Black people with type 1 diabetes and COVID-19 were nearly four times more likely to be hospita...