Latino Community and Cardiovascular Disease

Latino Community and Cardiovascular Disease

HEART-BREAKING HEALTH FACTS

Cardiovascular disease or CVD represents a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels (World Health Organization, 2007). These include coronary heart, cerebro-vascular, peripheral arterial, rheumatic and congenital diseases, and deep vein thombosis and pulmonary embolism. CVDs are the number one cause of death in the world at 30%, according to recent statistics. Experts predict that almost 20 million will succumb to CVDs by 2015, mainly from heart disease and stroke as the leading causes of death (WHO). CVD has been reported as the overall leading cause of all deaths among Latinos from heart disease and stroke (Hispanic Health Council, 2006). Despite the alarming situation, the Latino community is generally unaware about it and the connection between their health behavior and CVD. Furthermore, Latinos suffer from disparities in behavioral health care (Hispanic Health Council). This study seeks to determine CDV incidence among Latinos, the causes, health care provision and prevention. Findings can increase their awareness of risks to their health and also serve as basis for health intervention and legislations.

Literature Review

American Heart Association (2009). Hispanics/Latinos and Cardiovascular Diseases

Statistics. Retrieved on August 14, 2009 from http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jetml-identifiers

The Association refers to Hispanics or Latinos as persons whose ancestry traces to Spanish-speaking countries, such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain, countries of Central and South America and the Dominican Republic. CVD was the cause of death among 25.9% of Latino men and 30.1% of Latino women, according to 2005 statistics.

Current figures say that 31.6% of Mexican-American adult males, aged 20 years and older, and 34.4% adult females have CVD. Of these figures, 5.6% of men and 5.3% of women have coronary heart disease; 3.1% of men and 2.1% of women have had a myocardial infarction or heart attack; 2.3% of men and 3.3% of women have angina; and 3.1% and 1.9% of women have had a stroke.

The Association also discusses the results of the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi project or BASIC. These results revealed that stroke is more common among Mexican-Americans than among non-Hispanic whites in their community. The chief cause is either intracerebral hemorrhage or sub-arachnoid hemorrhage. Additional data revealed that 2.7% of Latino men and 2.5% of Latino women, aged 18 and older, have a history of stroke. Data also showed that 28.7% of Latino men and 31.4% of Latino women have hypertension, among whom 49.9% of men and 50% of women have high low-density lipoprotein levels at 200 mg/dL and higher. High-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol is considered good and should be maintained at higher than 40 mg/dL. Among Mexican-Americans, aged 20 and older, 27.7% of the men and 13.% of the women Physical inactivity and overweight have been associated with increased CVD incidence. Physical inactivity during leisure was found to be more common among women than men and among Hispanics and Blacks than non-Hispanics and among older than young adults at 22.6% among those 18 years old and older. It was also more common among the poor than the rich. And 74.6% of Latino men and 73% of Latino women were found to be overweight or obese.

Hispanic Health Council (2006). Profile of Latino Health in Connecticut. Latino Policy

Institute. Retrieved on August 14, 2009 from http://www.hispanichealth.com/LPI.pdf

This Profile presents the state of Latino health in Connecticut. It reveals glaring gaps and biases in health care, access, health literacy, socio-economic status, environmental situation, and racial discrimination. It also offers approaches to managing and preventing the disease disorders and fostering Latino health welfare. The Latinos comprise 9% of the State's population and the largest minority group. They have the highest poverty and unemployment rates among all ethnic groups. Their median age is 25 and approximately 40% of them are below 20 years old. In that State, they have the highest fertility, birth and teen birth rates. Most of them come from Puerto Rico. Less than half of all Latinos are high school graduates.

Latino businesses grew to 43% since 1997. They constitute 9% of Connecticut's labor force. Their purchasing power reached %7.5 million in 2005. The development of the State derives from the collective welfare of its population, which includes the Latinos. Yet they suffer disadvantage in many respects, especially in health care. They represent 40% of the un-insured population. Those who work are less likely to be given employer-sponsored insurance or a permanent position with a built-in insurance coverage. About 21% of Latino children were more likely to be un-insured than non-Latino children, according to 2003 statistics. This lack of health insurance is the most serious health problem among Latinos today. It is a major explanation to poor health and premature deaths among them. Language barrier and low health literacy are other major problems.

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and socio-economic factors are the major risk factors for CVD and stroke. These factors are present and prevalent among Latinos. In Connecticut, 57% of Latinos are obese or overweight and 22% of them are smokers, the highest among all ethnic groups. Overweight and obese adults are at an increased risk for hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke and other diseases. At the same time, it is associated with poverty, poor nutrition, and the lack of opportunity to exercise. These conditions co-occur in Latinos, as illustrated by those in Connecticut.

Balcazar, H; Hollen, M.L.; Gonzales-Cruz, Y; and Pedregon, V. (2005). Preventing Chronic Disease. Vol 2 # 3. Public Health Research, Practice and Policy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on August 14, 2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2005/jul/pdf/04_0130.pdf

In 2001, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Council of La Raza jointly conducted a pilot test of a community-based outreach program, called Health for Your Heart. It was aimed at reducing disease incidence and deaths associated with CDV among Latinos. Data were gathered on family risk factors, health habits, referrals and screening, information sharing and program satisfaction from a sampling of 223 responding Latino families. The project proved effective in improving health behaviors among the families as well as increasing community referrals and screenings, information sharing among families and meeting respondents' expectations of the project. The success derived mainly from the train-the-trainer approach, which can be integrated into a medical model of patient care for CVD prevention.

Using the project's evaluation tools, a preventive patient care model can use the identified risks for heart disease among families and individuals, refer them for screening and share information and skills with community members to improve heart health.

Project promoters may act as health educators and advocates in preventing disease and promoting health. This will be a significant boost, considering that the average physician spends less than 10 minutes in educating a patient. If the program is strictly followed, promoters can bring about behavioral change in patients or community. Follow-up study of the project showed an 18% improvement of health behaviors among the respondents.

Local organizations adopted the program because it supported their health education and prevention goals in Latino communities. It also facilitated partnerships and linked up with additional human and financial resources. This project is also adaptable to a community's specific needs, available resources and conditions. It can prove useful in different settings and different types of Latino communities.

Management Sciences for Health (2004). Hispanic/Latinos and Cardiovascular Disease. The Providers'Guide to Quality & Culture: Office of Minority Health and the Bureau of Primary Health Care. Retrieved on August 14, 2009 from http://erc.msh.org/provider/information/HL_CVD.Overview.pdf

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. And stroke is the third. Heart disease and stroke are the major causes of disability and account for increasing health costs in the U.S. More lives are lost to cardiovascular disease than all other leading causes combined. These other leading causes are cancer, unintentional injuries, pneumonia or influenza, diabetes, suicide, kidney disease, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. The major risk factors of CVD are hypertension, smoking, hypercholesterolemia, high alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.

Latinos observe certain traditional health beliefs and practices, which must be considered in combating an preventing CVD and promoting overall health. They involve the family in the care of a patient. However, a Latino family extends to or includes parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends and godparents of their children. Latinos also observe the tradition of respect, which dictates deferential behavior towards others as regards age, sex, social or economic status and authority. Respect is expected by older people from younger people, by men from women, adults from children, teachers from students, and employers from employees, for example. And they relish personal relationships. This explains why they rely on community-based organizations and clinics for primary health care needs. They prefer providers who are personal, warm and interested in their patients' personal lives. Trust is another traditional value among them. They cooperate with a provider with whom they establish a bond of trust. The provider may then also come to appreciate the Hispanic concept of health.

CVD risk factors areā€¦