Not all Latino Populations are the Same


Columbia research shows key differences among Hispanic populations that doctors should take into account in trying to stem the risk of cardiovascular disease in this large and growing subset of the U.S. population. Among the new findings published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology are that Caribbean-origin Hispanics have greater prevalence of hypertension than Mexicans, whom among all the Hispanic subgroups tended to be more susceptible to diabetes, according to research led by cardiologist Carlos Rodriguez, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of clinical medicine.

Hispanics are the largest minority ethnic group in the United States, numbering 46 million people, or 16 percent of the U.S. population. The study examined left-ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac “remodeling” patterns with the help of magnetic resonance imaging in Hispanic subgroups compared with non-Hispanic whites participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis or MESA, which was conducted in six cities across the United States. Dr. Rodriguez conducted the research as a scholar with the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

With higher rates of hypertension, Caribbean-origin Hispanics have a higher prevalence of abnormal hypertrophy compared with non-Hispanic whites, the study found. A higher prevalence of cardiac hypertrophy and abnormal left-ventricular remodeling was also observed among Hispanics from Mexico, despite a lower prevalence of hypertension in that population. These results persisted after adjustment for high blood pressure and diabetes suggesting that these risk factors only partially explain these findings.

The research is the first comparative analysis of Hispanic subgroups in a single cohort to demonstrate differential prevalence of hypertension and diabetes and the first to relate them to cardiac structure across Hispanic subgroups.