Ethnicity

How Does My Ethnicity Affect My Risk?

Groups at Higher Risk

First Nations

  • High blood pressure and diabetes are more common in this population.
  • First Nations people are up to eight times more likely to develop diabetes than other Canadian adults.
  • Both high blood pressure and diabetes are of great concern as they are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

People of African Descent

  • High blood pressure and diabetes are more common in this population.
  • African Canadian women, in particular, are more commonly affected.

People of Asian Descent

  • High blood pressure and diabetes are more common in this population.
  • In this group, culture is a big part of people’s lives, and dietary habits — including high saturated fat and sodium foods — are part of that culture.
  • People of Asian descent commonly face language barriers, which can keep them from understanding the CVD risks they face.
  • Language barriers may also keep Asian people from completely understanding healthy-heart awareness campaigns and messages.

Studies indicate that people from minority populations are less aware that smoking, high cholesterol, and family history increase their risk for heart disease. Awareness levels can impact a person’s decision about whether to start making healthy lifestyle changes.

In some instances, certain ethnic populations are simply more prone or sensitive to specific risk factors for less obvious reasons. Researchers are trying to identify exact causes, but it may very well be that intolerances to things such as salt (sodium) or sugars are genetic and non-modifiable, unrelated to lifestyle or cultural practice.