CHICAGO, April 2 (UPI) -- U.S. black men have a lower risk of heart failure, but that's because black men die sooner and heart failure is a disease of the elderly, researchers say.
"Heart failure is a disease of the aging, and on average, black men in America tend to have higher competing risks for death earlier in life," Mark Huffman of Northwestern Medicine said in a statement.
"Because competing risks are higher, which is itself a major problem, relatively fewer black men have the opportunity to develop heart failure compared to white men in these studies, because they die sooner of other causes."
Principal investigator Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said the study involved 39,000 participants that estimated lifetime risks for developing heart failure at age 45-95. They also explored the relationships between lifetime heart failure risk and risk factors such as obesity, blood pressure and prior heart attack.
The study found whites and blacks with higher blood pressure and higher body mass index had a higher lifetime risk for heart failure, the researchers said.
White males have the highest lifetime risk for heart failure of 30 percent to 42 percent, while the lifetime heart failure risk for black and white women was similar, 32 percent to 39 percent in white women, 24 percent to 46 percent in black women.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.