Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. It is the cause of thirty six percent of death annually, compared to cancer, which claims another 23 % per year. For African Americans, the rate is even higher. Some 79.4 million African Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, which represents nearly one in five.
Why is heart disease higher among the African American population? African Americans have a higher rate of three of the risk factors for heart disease. Forty one percent of African Americans have high blood pressure. African Americans are also more likely to be overweight or obese and are have higher rates of diabetes. As the rates for each of these risk factors rise, so does the incident of heart disease.
Physical inactivity is one major concern. Physical inactivity is more prevalent for women, African Americas Hispanics. For African American females age 18 and older, 55.2 percent are inactive, compared to 36.2 percent of Caucasian females.
Anne L. Taylor, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School warns the “there is a critical need for greater awareness about the risk of heart disease among African-American women” and adds that “all women need to be conscious of their own personal health risk, and the statistics for African-American women are staggering.”
The American Heart Association wants to change this. On their web site, the ADA offers information to help African Americans understand why their risks are higher AND offers information of what you can do to stay heart healthy.
The American Heart Association recently lost a great friend to the organization, African American, Yolanda King. King was the first national Ambassador of the Power to End Stroke Campaign, who “worked tirelessly and unselfishly to raise stroke awareness among African Americans, prevent stroke and save lives.”
Gladys knight, of The Pips, recently published a cookbook for healthy eating, At Home With Gladys Knight. Knight lost her mother to diabetes, one of the risk factors for heart disease.
Join these awesome crusaders in raising awareness by talking to a friend today about heart disease and their risk factors!