(HealthDay News) — African-Americans have a moderately high prevalence of subclinical disease, which is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.

Vanessa Xanthakis, Ph.D., from the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues examined 4,416 African-American participants attending the first examination of the Jackson Heart Study with available subclinical disease measures. The authors examined the prevalence of subclinical disease and its association with CVD.

The researchers found that 26% of participants had subclinical disease, defined as the presence of one or more of the following: peripheral arterial disease, left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), microalbuminuria, high coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, and low left ventricular ejection fraction. 

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The odds of subclinical disease were higher for participants with versus those without metabolic syndrome (MetS) or diabetes mellitus (DM) (odds ratios, 1.55 and 2.86, respectively) in cross-sectional analyses. High CAC score and LVH correlated directly with the incidence of CVD (265 events) in multivariable-adjusted analyses (P < 0.05). Having MetS or DM significantly increased the risk of incident CVD in prospective analyses, independent of the presence of subclinical disease (P < 0.001).

“Overall, our findings are of public health importance because African-Americans have a disproportionately high burden of CVD in the U.S. relative to other racial groups,” the authors write.


  1. Xanthakis, V, et al. Published online by Diabetes Care, March 12, 2015; doi: 10.2337/dc14-2460.