The issue of race in medicine is problematic. Race is not a physiologic grouping, and all persons of a given race do not necessarily share the same clinical phenotype or genetic substrate. Despite clear signals that certain risk factors and diseases vary as a function of race, translating those differences into race-based therapeutics has been awkward and has done little to change the natural history of cardiovascular disease as it affects special populations. Among the varied special populations, the African American population appears to have the most significant and adverse variances for cardiovascular disease as well as worrisome signals that drug responsiveness varies. Recent guideline statements have now acknowledged certain treatment options that are most appropriate for African Americans with cardiovascular disease, especially hypertension and heart failure. As more physiologic markers of disease and drug responsiveness become available, the need for racial designations in medicine may lessen, and therapies can be optimized for all patients without regard to race or ethnicity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine