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Atherosclerosis. 1994 Aug;108 Suppl:S83-104.

Lipids, lipoproteins and coronary heart disease in minority populations.

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Department of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310-1495.


Despite recent advances in both prevention and treatment, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of mortality in the US. The Framingham Study was a landmark in defining CHD-related risk factors; unfortunately, very few minorities were included. A major preventable risk factor for CHD continues to be lipid abnormalities, but its association within minority populations is unclear. The few studies that have examined the association of hyperlipidemia with CHD in minorities have shown that total cholesterol was a predictor of CHD risk (e.g., black men aged 35-64). Several researchers have reported higher levels of HDL for black men and women compared to white men and women. Since HDL was shown to be inversely related to CHD, this discrepancy in HDL is hypothesized to account for the lower than expected mortality rate. Lipoprotein(a) has been identified as an independent risk factor for CHD; blacks have considerably higher levels than whites. Data also indicate the following: Hispanics have lower CVD mortality rates than the general population despite having known risk factors (e.g., obesity, diabetes, low socioeconomic status); Hispanic women have lower levels of HDL cholesterol; Native-American populations have lower prevalence of CHD associated with lower LDL-cholesterol and higher HDL-cholesterol. Understanding epidemiologic and pathophysiologic data regarding differences between various racial groups should help reduce CVD-related morbidity and mortality in minority populations.

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