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Experts recommend extended heart testing for African Americans

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

African Americans are generally at a higher risk for developing cardiovascular problems than the rest of the population. Cholesterol testing may help diagnose these heart health problems, however, some experts say that further testing could be required.

For example, a team of researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina recently found that the reason for the elevated heart risk among African Americans is that they are more likely to develop non-calcified plaque buildups. More extensive cardiovascular testing may be required to detect these buildups.

Non-calcified plaque buildups are soft deposits deep in the arteries. They are much more likely to burst and cause a clot, which could result in a stroke or heart attack.

"The African Americans and Caucasians we studied had approximately the same amount of plaque in their arteries, but different kinds of plaque," said John Nance, who led the study. "For African American patients, coronary CT angiography may be a more appropriate screening tool for cardiovascular risk."

He added that he and his team are continuing their research in an effort to find ways that African Americans may be able to reduce their risk of this type of heart disease.

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