Traditional CVD Risk Factors Hit Women, Blacks Harder

(HealthDay News) — Traditional risk factors contribute to incident cardiovascular disease more in black people and women, compared with other populations, according to a study published online in Circulation.

Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 13,541 participants (women, 56%; black, 26%) in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. 

Participants (aged 52 to 66 years) were free of CVD at exams in 1987 through 1989, 1990 through 1992, 1993 through 1995, or 1996 through 1998. The population attributable risks (PAR) of traditional risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and smoking) were estimated at each examination for the 10-year incidence of CVD.

The researchers found that the PAR of all risk factors combined appeared to decrease from the late 1980s to the late 1990s (0.58 to 0.53). In women, the combined PAR was higher than men in 1987 through 1989 (P<.001) but not by the late 1990s (P=.08). 

Blacks had a combined PAR that was higher than whites in the late 1980s (P=.049), and this difference was more pronounced by the late 1990s (P=.002). By the late 1990s, the PAR of hypertension and diabetes was higher in women than men (P=.02 and P<.0001, respectively), and both were also higher in blacks than whites (P=.08 and P<.0001, respectively).

“The contribution to CVD of all traditional risk factors combined is greater in blacks than whites, and this difference may be increasing,” the researchers wrote. “The contributions of hypertension and diabetes mellitus remain especially high, in women as well as blacks.”


  1. Cheng S et al. Circulation. 2014;doi:10.1161/​CIRCULATIONAHA.113.008506.