Ethnicity

HOW DOES ETHNICITY RELATE TO CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE?

Ethnicity describes people with the same cultural background or geographical ancestry. It’s also referred to as race. The ethnic group or race you belong to can have a genetic makeup and environmental influences that predispose its members to cardiovascular disease.

People of the same ethnicity share many of the same genes, which is why family history and ethnicity are so closely linked. People with similar ancestry may pass down similar mutations in their genes.

Indigenous people of Canada and people of African or Asian descent are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

GROUPS AT HIGHER RISK

Indigenous people of Canada

  • High blood pressure and diabetes are more common in this population – which are prime 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 this culture.
  • People of Asian descent commonly face language barriers, which can keep them from understanding the cardiovascular risks they face and heart healthy messages.

In addition, 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.