for Black women |
and heart disease
By ERICKA P. THOMPSON
Heart disease kills Black women.
The No. 1 killer of all women, African-American women face a greater threat of death from this disease than women of every other race in the country. A frightening fact, but a fact nonetheless.
According to the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, African-American women are 72 percent more likely to develop heart disease than white women. Black women ages 55-64 are 35 percent more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease.
“There is a critical need for greater awareness about the risk of heart disease among African-American women,” said Dr. Anne L. Taylor, American Heart Association (AHA) volunteer.
Although such facts are available for Black women to educate themselves, they don’t.
“All women need to be conscious of their own personal health risk, and the statistics for African-American women are staggering,” Taylor adds.
The good news is that heart disease is preventable. There are a multitude of healthy habits Black women can adapt that will not only decrease their chance of developing this deadly disease but will also lessen the chances of developing diabetes, stroke and lupus.
Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise five times a week is highly reccomended. The Nurses’ Health Study – the longest major women’s health survey ever conducted – showed that women who walked briskly for at least three hours a week reduced their risk of having a heart attack by 30 to 40 percent.
It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet. The AHA suggests consuming at least two servings of baked or grilled fish a week; choose low-sodium, low-fat seasonings such as spices, herbs and other flavorings and eating a variety of food fiber sources such as fruits, vegetables and beans.
In addition to understanding the facts on heart disease, exercising and eating healthy, Black women must be aware of their family history as well as their medical history, which can increase chances of developing the disease.