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African American Women And Heart Disease

Heart disease & stroke is the No. 1 killer in women, and stroke disproportionately affects African-Americans. Importantly, African-American women are less likely than Caucasian women to be aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death.

Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity and a family history of heart disease are all greatly prevalent among African-Americans and are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. What’s more, African-American women have almost two times the risk of stroke than Caucasians, and more likely to die at an earlier age when compared to women of other ethnicities.

Here are a few unsettling stats:

  • Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African-American women annually.
  • Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart diseases.
  • Only 1 in 5 African-American women believes she is personally at risk.
  • Only 52 percent of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Only 36 percent of African-American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.

The truth about high blood pressure

More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic blacks have high blood pressure, which is more severe in blacks than whites, and develops earlier in life. This little known fact is something that, if known and treated in advance, could have led to a more romantic first date for Shermane.

But why is it targeting African-Americans?

Researchers have found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more sensitive to the effects of salt, which in turn increases the risk for developing high blood pressure. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure by as much as five millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

The African-American population also tends to have higher rates of obesity and diabetes, which puts them at greater risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. But for many African-American women, particularly those who consider themselves perfectly healthy, perception may not always equal reality.

Read more here: https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/facts_about_heart_disease_in_women-sub-category/african-american-women/


One woman dies every minute from heart disease, a little know fact that is overshadowed by other high profile diseases for women. Heart disease, once considered a “man’s disease”, is a cause of great concern for women.  It is called a “silent killer” because it often has no symptoms or presents pain that is barely noticeable. The most commonly recognized symptom is persistent chest pain, pressure or other discomfort, called angina. This pain results when the heart is getting too little blood or oxygen. It can be felt under the breastbone and tends to accompany exercise or extreme emotional stress. Women, however, are more likely than men to experience a different type of chest pain which is sharp and temporary.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a term used to describe a number of problems affecting the heart and the blood vessels of the heart. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and is the leading cause of heart attacks. CAD occurs when the coronary arteries that surround and supply blood to the heart muscle lose their elasticity and become hardened and narrowed because of plaque build-up inside the artery. This process is called atherosclerosis. As the coronary arteries narrow, blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop, causing chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, heart attack, and other symptoms.

Why is this Important to Black Women?

Black women suffer rates of heart disease that are twice as high as those among white women. Some of the factors that contribute to this disparity include higher rates of overweight and obesity, higher rates of elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure and limited awareness of our elevated risks. In addition to having high heart disease rates, Black women die from heart disease more often than all other Americans.

 

Read more here: http://www.bwhi.org/issues-and-resources/heart-disease-and-black-women-the-silent-killer-that-speaks-volumes/

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Head2Toe Magazine is an online hair, beauty, and fashion magazine
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