Minority Women and Heart Disease

Study Shows Improved Symptoms of Diabetes in African American Women

According to a new study conducted by researchers at MUM’s Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and Howard University Hospital and College of Medicine in Washington, DC, African American women greatly improved their condition of dyslipidemia through their practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique.

Dyslipidemia is the most common complication of diabetes, characterized by low good cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In this one year study, 49 diabetic African American women, aged between 55 and 85 years, were randomly allocated to a Transcendental Meditation program group or to a health-education group focusing on exercise and diet. The TM group showed a 29% greater increase in good cholesterol and a 20% greater drop in triglycerides than subjects in the other group at the end of the trial.

Carolyn King, Ph.D., lead author of the study, presented the research at an American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition. She said,

Stress reduction with the Transcendental Meditation program is both feasible and effective in reducing diabetic dyslipidemia in African American woman and it can be an important part of a lifestyle modification program for improving diabetic dyslipidemia and preventing CVD.
About twice as many African American women suffer from CVD and diabetes as white women, and psychosocial stress contributes to the risk of diabetes and diabetes complications especially CVD. Combining the Transcendental Meditation technique with changes to diet and exercise may produce an even greater benefit.

Why Women of Color May Face Higher Risks for Heart Disease: an article by Dr. Jennifer Mieres, Senior VP of the Office of Community and Public Health at the North Shore-LIJ Health System, co-author of the book Heart Smart for Black Women and Latinas, and a WomenHeart advisor.