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Why the pandemic has made care harder for Black Americans

April is National Minority Health Month. It’s all about helping to reduce health disparities and improve the health of minorities.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — According to the CDC, about 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year. That's one in every four deaths. It's the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups, with one person dying every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease.

Each year, the case count is only getting worse.

“In the United States, there's over 6 million individuals with heart failure at the current time," Dr. Ashkan Hayatdavoudi, the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Presidium Health Corporation, said. "That number is expected to increase to over 8 million by 2030."

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Black Americans are diagnosed at a disproportionate rate. 

“They develop heart failure at an earlier age, and their outcomes with heart failure are worse than their white counterparts," Hayatdavoudi said. 

Hayatdavoudi said the reason for this is two-fold. 

“African Americans, for a variety of reasons, have a higher rate of uncontrolled blood pressure, of diabetes, and obesity, ultimately willing them to a higher risk of developing heart failure," Hayatdavoudi said. "And then we have the factors behind the factors that are the economic variations between ethnicities and races: The access to information, access to work, access to nutrition, access to care. Some people aren't around cardiologists just by their general location.”

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Hayatdavoudi said the pandemic has only made things worse. 

“Like many chronic diseases, heart failure management has gotten worse, just because the patients weren't able to see their doctors," Hayatdavoudi said. "And the most important thing in respect to heart failure is making sure that you have a good line of communication with your doctor, you talk to your doctor, and you listen to your doctor.”

So what can people do to lower their risk?

Hayatdavoudi said lower your salt intake, lower your fat intake, increase your physical activity, and have a clear line of communication with your doctor.

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