August 1, 2012

Prevalence of Heart Disease and Its Risk Factors Related to Age in Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Whites in Hawai‘i

Deborah T. Juarez, ScD; James W. Davis PhD; S. Kalani Brady, MD and Richard S. Chung, MD

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved

Objective—To examine disparities in disease prevalence related to age and race/ethnicity.

Study design—Retrospective observational study.

Methods—Eligible population included enrollees with largest insurer in Hawai‘i. Chronic diseases were identified from claims data (1999–2009) based on algorithms including diagnostic codes and pharmaceutical utilization. Relative risk of heart disease and its risk factors were calculated for Native Hawaiians and Asian sub-groups by age.

Results—Prevalence of heart disease and its risk factors differed substantially by age and race/ethnicity. Native Hawaiians and Filipinos had higher rates of hypertension and diabetes; Asians had highest rates of hyperlipidemia. Whites had the lowest prevalence of risk factors yet their risk of heart disease equaled other groups.

Conclusion—Prevalence curves began diverging at age 30 for risk factors and age 40 for heart disease. This suggests approaches to reduce the burden of disease for vulnerable groups need to begin in early adulthood if not sooner.

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