Black Americans with both diabetes and kidney disease have an increased risk of dying from heart disease, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 3,200 black people in Mississippi who were enrolled in a heart study from 2000 to 2004 and found the risk of death from heart disease was more than 2 percent higher per year among those with diabetes. The chances of death from heart disease were 7 percent higher in those with kidney disease. People with both diabetes and kidney disease fared the worst; their risk of dying from heart disease was 15 percent higher.
Though the study didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship, the results suggest having both diabetes and kidney disease was linked to more than a three times increased risk of heart disease and a six times higher risk of stroke.
“African Americans in low-income counties in Mississippi have higher rates of adverse cardiovascular outcomes and mortality than any other subpopulation in the United States, rates that are comparable to those in some of the most underprivileged parts of the globe,” said Maryam Afkarian, of the University of Washington in Seattle.
Afkarian, the study’s co-leader, noted that researchers wanted to know how much diabetes and kidney disease might contribute to heart disease, stroke and death from heart disease in this group of black people from low-income areas in Mississippi. “This is an important question because in order to reduce the excess burden of cardiovascular disease and death, it is important to identify the factors that contribute to them,” she explained.
Both kidney disease and diabetes are very common among black people in this country. We are more likely than all races except Native Americans to be diagnosed with diabetes. We are three times more likely to suffer kidney failure than whites, and we make up more than 32 percent of all patients in this country receiving dialysis for kidney failure.