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Heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death in Baltimore. Approximately 2,000 people die each year in the city due to heart disease and stroke. Baltimore City’s death rates due to cardiovascular disease and diabetes are significantly higher than the national rates.

Sickness and death from heart disease are much more likely to strike African Americans than Whites in Baltimore.1  These differences in heart disease -- known as health disparities -- are a key reason that there is a racial discrepancy in life expectancy in Baltimore City:  African-American men die 6.7 years earlier than Whites, and African-American women die 4.2 years earlier.2  Additionally, heart disease is also a leading reason why Baltimore residents on average live six years less than people in the rest of Maryland. It also is a key reason that there is a 20-year difference in one’s average lifespan between the wealthiest (83 years) and poorest (63 years) neighborhoods within Baltimore City.  However, it is important to know that sickness and death from heart disease and stroke can be prevented.

This site is a resource for Baltimore residents, helping people understand the causes of health disparities and providing information that can improve one’s health. On these pages, you will read about: the causes of health disparities, potential solutions, the importance of community involvement, resources available to the community, the Center’s Community-Health Professional Advisory Board, and the Hopkins Community Research Advisory Council (C-RAC).

Click to learn more about Influences on Health.

1Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, Vital Statistics Administration, Division of Health Statistics: Baltimore, MD. 2005. Accessed Aug. 21, 2007 at

2Ford ES, Ajani AU, Croft JB, et al. Explaining the decrease in U.S. deaths from coronary disease, 1980-2000. N Engl J Med 2007; 356(23): 2388-98.

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