Heart disease can be a heavy burden for anyone. But new research suggests that black women at risk for the illness are also more prone to loneliness and money worries than their white peers.
That’s important, researchers said, because there’s evidence that loneliness can raise risks of heart disease and other health problems.
Black women “at risk for cardiovascular disease [often] have unique predictors of loneliness” compared to white women, study author Karen Saban said in a news release from the International Stroke Conference.
Saban is associate dean for research at Loyola University’s School of Nursing, in Maywood, Ill. She was to present the findings at the stroke meeting in Houston on Tuesday.
The new study included 50 black and 49 white postmenopausal women with at least two risk factors for heart disease. The women completed questionnaires outlining aspects of their social and financial well-being.
Compared to white women, the black women were twice as likely to say they were lonely, Saban’s team found. Black women were also nearly three times more likely to have money problems and 2.5 times more likely to feel like they had “lower social status.”
Older black women also reported fewer social links to others and less reliable social support, the findings showed.
According to the researchers, the findings may lead to new ways to address the effects of poverty and loneliness in vulnerable people.
Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. Office on Women’s Health offers advice on heart disease prevention.