Latinx Heritage Month: An Opportunity to Review Implications For Treatment
Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated annually in the U.S. from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and is linked to the independence anniversaries of several Latin American nations (1). The month also provides us with the opportunity to reflect and review our knowledge of the Latinx communities and implications for treatment within these groups of individuals.
According to data from the National Health Interview Survey: 2018, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, adult Hispanic individuals are 10% less likely to have coronary heart disease compared to non-Hispanic Whites (2). Adult Hispanic men and women were also 30% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than non-Hispanic Whites according to the same data set. Despite this difference in cardiovascular health compared to non-Hispanic Whites, diseases of the heart are still the second leading cause of death amongst the Hispanic population, second only to malignant neoplasms (3).
There is also increasing prevalence of sleep disordered breathing amongst the Latinx population in the U.S. (4). This is believed to be secondary to the increase in the incidence of overweight and obese persons within the Latinx community. We know from the literature and experience that sleep disordered breathing leads to increased cardiovascular and cardiometabolic pathologies. The potential for interventions exists, but it needs to come from the multi-disciplinary team.
The U.S. has a diverse group of Latinx individuals from varying countries of origin, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and idiosyncrasies within each local community. All of us within the CV Team have the potential to intervene to stratify the risk of developing cardiovascular and other diseases. This can be done by becoming knowledgeable about the specific backgrounds of your patient and framing your interactions with the individual person in mind. Ongoing discussions with the patient about disease processes, prevention, ongoing care, and shared decision-making should be held in the language with which the patient feels most comfortable and most readily comprehends.
This Latinx Heritage Month, perhaps take a few moments to review local indicators for the Latinx community where you practice. Take note of potential cultural differences, needs and sensitivities to the varying groups within the Latinx community to improve your interactions and guide your plans of care. There is observational data that Latinx patients with cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure fare better when seen in a clinic that treats a high proportion of Latinx patients compared to a low proportion (5). Recognize if one of these centers is close to you and consider referral if indicated and appropriate. We all have a professional, moral, and ethical obligation to do the best by all of our patients. If you happen to know colleagues who may work in a clinic or hospital who treat a high proportion of Latinx patients, consider reaching out to them to see how you may improve outcomes and patient satisfaction within your own practice or organization.
Access CardioSmart translated infographics and decision aids available in Spanish here.
- Human Rights Campaign. Latinx Heritage Month: More Than One Word, More Than One Heritage. https://www.hrc.org/news/latinx-heritage-month-more-than-one-word-more-than-one-heritage. Accessed Sept. 2021.
- Office of Minority Health. Heart Disease and Hispanic Americans – The Office of Minority Health. https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=64. Accessed Aug. 7, 2021.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2019 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released in 2020. http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html Accessed Aug. 7, 2021.
- Redline S, Sotres-Alvarez D, Loredo J, et al. Sleep-disordered breathing in Hispanic/Latino individuals of diverse backgrounds. The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014;189(3):335-344. doi:10.1164/rccm.201309-1735OC
- López L, Cook N, Hicks L. Improved quality of care for cardiovascular disease for Latinos seen in high proportion Latino vs low proportion Latino clinics. Ethn Dis. 2015;25(1):3-10.
This article is authored by Adam Burget, RN
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