Minorities at Risk for Heart Disease

A recent study by the American Heart Association shows that women’s awareness of heart disease is increasing. The number of women who know that heart disease is the leading cause of death has nearly doubled in the last 15 years. However, this knowledge still lags in minorities and younger women.

Awareness is only part of the challenge. “Healthy habits are the best way to combat heart disease,” says Marcus St. John, M.D., an interventional cardiologist and specialist in cardiovascular disease at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute at Baptist Hospital. “Anyone, regardless of their age or situation, can take steps to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.”

Dr. St. John, (pictured left), recommends that minorities take action against the following health conditions that contribute to poor heart health:

  • Obesity and being overweight. Fifty percent of African-American women are obese. So, do something great and strive to lose weight, Dr. St. John says. Maybe start an exercise program or eat fewer high-fat foods. The American Heart Association shares that losing weight can lower your blood pressure and your sugar and cholesterol levels and improve other health conditions.
  • Diabetes. African-Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes. Watch your sugar intake, for your own sake, Dr. St. John says.
  • High blood pressure. African-Americans also are at risk for high blood pressure. The American Heart Association advises that you can lower your risk by eating less salt or sodium, drinking less alcohol, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.

Living a heart-healthy lifestyle can be difficult at times, but it’s something that we must do — for our own peace of mind, health and vitality, Dr. St. John says.

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