Keeping A Pulse On Our Cardio Health

Because Black people are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated Lipoprotein(a), our risk of developing heart, or cardiovascular, diseases is increased.

Learn more about Lipoprotein(a) and find resources to help you manage the risk of heart disease.

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What is Lipoprotein(a) and how could it be affecting you?

Having elevated Lipoprotein(a), often shortened to Lp(a), is like having too much of a certain type of fat in your blood.

It’s important to know about it because having high levels of Lp(a) can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lp(a) levels and how our body handles them are affected by genetics.

Studies have shown that Black people tend to have higher levels of Lp(a) compared to other racial and ethnic groups. This means we may have a higher risk of heart problems linked to Lp(a), even if we don’t have risk factors like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.


Cardiovascular diseases affect the heart and blood vessels

Here are a few you should know about, which may be caused by elevated Lp(a) and/or other risk factors:

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Occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked or reduced, leading to brain damage. Symptoms include paralysis (loss of movement), trouble speaking, or memory loss. Learn more.

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Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Happens when blood vessels in the legs and feet narrow, causing symptoms like leg pain and numbness, which can lead to leg amputation (removing a leg with surgery). Learn more.

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Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Affects the tubes (blood vessels) that carry blood to the heart muscle. It can cause chest pain (angina) or lead to a heart attack. Learn more.

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Heart Failure

Occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Symptoms include shortness of breath and swelling in the legs. Learn more.

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Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD)

ASCVD is a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries, making it hard for blood to flow smoothly through the body. Learn more.

more about ASCVD

Atherosclerotic [ath-uh-roh-skluh-roh-tic] cardiovascular disease, or ASCVD, is a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries, making it hard for blood to flow smoothly through the body.

Think of your bloodstream like a highway carrying oxygen and important nutrients to your body, and your arteries as the roads. If fat and cholesterol stick to these roads, it forms plaque, making the arteries narrow and hard, like traffic jams, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

Am I at risk for ASCVD?

You could be at risk for developing ASCVD. Some common factors include:

  • *If you are unsure if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, ask your doctor during your regular checkup.
  • Elevated Lp(a)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol*
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes*
  • Being overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Family history of heart disease before the age of 55
  • Age
  • Race

Some symptoms of ASCVD INCLUDE:

Chest pain
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Leg or arm pain or weakness
  • Feeling tired
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Trouble speaking (aphasia)

Avoid these symptoms by finding resources to manage your heart health.

Resources made for people like us

Learn how others are taking care of their heart health. 

Treating high blood pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is common within the Black community. Learn about best practices you can put in place to take control of your blood pressure and heart health from hypertension specialist, Dr. Shawna Nesbitt.

Learn more about Lp(a)

Understand how Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), is screened for, ways to manage it, and more. 

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