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Cedars-Sinai Blog

Combating Heart Disease in the Black Community

Doctor listening to patient's heartbeat during home visit - wearing face mask
Merije T. Chukumerije, MD, a cardiologist at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai.

Merije T. Chukumerije, MD

People in the Black community are at higher risk of developing the risk factors that can lead to heart disease, says Dr. Merije Chukumerije, a cardiologist at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai.

Recent studies have shown that Black Americans were at higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, which are all risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease.

Dr. Chukumerije says that, especially for those in the Black community, it's important to intervene before the risk of heart disease increases.

"I definitely see a higher proportion of older patients who have a chronic disease, like coronary heart disease," Dr. Chukumerije says. "These health conditions don't just suddenly develop."


"As a healthcare provider, you have to understand what those in certain communities go through when they leave your medical office or clinic."


Barriers to healthcare and why cultural competency is key

Black Americans can be more at risk for heart disease for a variety reasons, such as socio-economic status, access to care and disparities in health equity.

Along with reducing barriers to healthcare, combating heart disease in the Black community also involves a certain level of cultural competency.

"As a healthcare provider, you have to understand what those in certain communities go through when they leave your medical office or clinic," Dr. Chukumerije says.

Read the full article on BlackDoctor.org.