U.S. Hispanics at High Heart Disease Risk and Many Go Untreated

Older man outside smiling at camera and holding his chinEven after suffering a stroke, many Hispanic Americans still have uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure or other conditions that raise their risk of a repeat one, a new study finds.

The study involved 404 Hispanic adults with a history of stroke or “mini-stroke,” which is a brief reduction in blood flow to the brain that can foreshadow a full-blown stroke. The researchers found that despite those scares, few patients had their stroke risk factors under control.

Awareness did not seem to be the issue: Most patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes knew it.

Still, many did not have those conditions under good control, the study found.

“This shows we have work to do,” said senior researcher Dr. Fernando Testai, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It’s a wake-up call to the medical community.”

The study, published online March 4 in the journal Stroke, is not the first to uncover a high prevalence of heart and blood vessel disease risks among Hispanic Americans.

According to the American Heart Association, more than half of Hispanic men and about 43% of Hispanic women in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease.

The new study zeroed in on a group of patients who, due to their history of stroke, should ideally have tight control of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Yet that was not the case.