February is Heart Health Month. And it’s also Black History Month. So it seems fitting to talk about African Americans and heart disease.
Monday, February 13, 2012
You’ve probably heard it before, but African Americans have a BIG problem with heart disease and America’s Health Rankings proves this. While the report showed improvements in smoking cessation and cardiovascular deaths, it also shows that rates of obesity and smoking – two leading indicators of heart disease - among African American adults outpaces that of whites in the majority of states. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all American women, and African American women are at greater risk for heart disease than any other ethnic group. Yet they are less likely than white women to be aware that they have major risk factors. One of the most important of these risk factors is high blood pressure. African American adults are 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure. As a result, the death rate from heart disease is 35 percent higher among African-American women than among their white counterparts.
Preventing heart disease is so important that there’s a new campaign underway, called the Million Hearts Initiative, with the goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. Million Hearts focuses on promoting compliance with the “ABCS” of heart disease prevention. I want you to benefit from this national effort, and I’m going to tell you how.
A = Aspirin. If you’re at risk, talk to your doctor about taking a low-dose aspirin every day.
B = Blood Pressure. Get your blood pressure checked today. If it’s elevated, get medication and TAKE IT faithfully. All of us should also work on reducing our sodium intake.
C = Cholesterol. Get your cholesterol checked. If it’s elevated, take the proper medication faithfully.
S = Smoking. Stop Smoking! Today!
You may have heard all this before, so the time has come to do something about it. Million Hearts is a great reminder to take action now. Visit millionhearts.hhs.gov, find it on Facebook at Millionhearts or follow the campaign on Twitter at @millionheartsus.