The 'Hispanic paradox' may not hold true for some cardiovascular outcomes

Recent studies found the "Hispanic paradox" does not always hold true for cardiovascular outcomes, the American Heart Association reported May 10.

The "Hispanic paradox" has been recognized since 1986, when University of Texas researchers discovered Hispanic people in the Southwest fared better in key health indicators despite socioeconomic disadvantages.

"The idea was that despite the fact that Hispanics as a group have lower education, lower income and less access to health care, their health outcomes are much better or similar to the white population," Luisa Borrell, DDS, PhD, a professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at City University of New York in New York City, told AHA.

The paradox has yet to be fully explained; however, some researchers suggest factors such as diet, lower rates of smoking and strong family and social support may contribute.

However, a 2022 study found the paradox did not hold up against cardiovascular events. The study, published in Journal of General Internal Medicine, used medical record data from more than 200,000 participants, roughly 40,000 of whom were Hispanic. The study found that 6.1 percent of Hispanic women and 9.2 percent of Hispanic men developed heart disease compared with 7.7 percent of Black women, 8.1 percent of Black men, 3.9 percent of white women and 7.6 percent of white men. 

An April 2022 study also found Hispanic adults had a lower overall death rate for cardiovascular disease compared with white adults, but their rate of stroke-related deaths increased since 2011. The research also found a rise in death rates for heart failure among Hispanic adults under 65.

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