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AMERICAN HEART MONTH
Stay Informed. Stay Healthy
Each year during the month of February, American Heart Month is observed to bring attention to a major issue—heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of American women, affecting over 6 million women and leaving close to 40 million at risk of developing the disease. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 out of every 3 deaths of women in the U.S. is attributed to heart disease.
African-American women are also disproportionately affected by heart disease, with 49% ages of 20 and older developing the disease. Additionally, according to the CDC, 7.6% of black women have coronary heart disease, which presents no symptoms in close to two thirds of women who die suddenly from it’s complications.
For many women, signs and symptoms of one of the following may be the first indication of heart disease.
Stroke: Includes paralysis and/or numbness, dizziness, sudden weakness, confusion, trouble speaking, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
Heart Attack: Chest pain or discomfort, extreme fatigue, nausea/vomiting, upper body discomfort, shortness of breath.
Heart failure: Fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet, ankles or abdomen
Arrhythmias: Palpitations, fluttering of the chest
Knowing and understanding your risks can help you to determine whether or not you are at a greater chance of developing heart disease. Common risks include:
Poor Dietary Habits
High Alcohol Consumption
High Cholesterol Levels
High Blood Pressure
Family History of Heart Disease
With many of these risks prevalent among African-American women, it’s important that we discuss the seriousness of leading healthy lifestyles. Reducing your risk of heart disease can be as simple as starting with small and manageable life changes that take us in the direction of wellness. Choices such as the following can aid in lowering your chances of developing heart disease:
Get regular health screenings
Limit or eliminate smoking and alcohol intake,
Limit intake of salt, cholesterol, fried, fatty foods and sugary foods
Consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and legumes
Include at least 30 minutes of movement or physical activity each day
Reduce stress levels
This month, make an effort to not only share with others the facts about heart disease, but choose to put your health first and keep your heart and body healthy.
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