Not All Hispanics Have Same Cardiovascular Risk Interview with:
Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH

Chief Cardiovascular Medicine Fellow
Stanford University What is the background for this study?

Response: Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S. Although cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for Hispanics, most studies exploring disparities focus on Black and White differences. Additionally, Hispanics are often aggregated into one homogenous group, which masks important differences.

There is also an interesting epidemiological phenomenon known as the “Hispanic paradox” that states that although Hispanics have greater risk factors for CVD, they experience lower mortality. What are the main findings?

Response: Using 10 years of national mortality data, we found that Mexicans and Puerto Ricans were on average 10 years younger than non-Hispanic whites (NHWs) and Cubans at the time of cardiovascular death. In fact, 20% of CVD deaths occurred at ages younger than 50 among these groups. Cerebrovascular disease disproportionately accounts for higher mortality among younger Hispanics, with higher rates among Mexicans. Ischemic heart disease and hypertensive deaths were more prevalent among Puerto Ricans, with overall similar rates to NHWs. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Aggregating all Hispanics into one category masks important heterogeneity in cardiovascular disease mortality. Our results also question if the Hispanic paradox is true for all groups and cardiovascular disease subtypes. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our study underscores the importance of disaggregating Hispanics into subgroups by country of origin in clinical and epidemiological studies. The next steps include evaluating sociodemographic explanations for our findings including the role of nativity status, acculturation, and residence in ethnic enclaves.

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Rodriguez F, Hastings KG, Boothroyd DB, Echeverria S, Lopez L, Cullen M, Harrington RA, Palaniappan LP. Disaggregation of Cause-Specific Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Among Hispanic Subgroups. JAMA Cardiol. Published online January 18, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.4653

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on January 20, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD