There is a little-known fact that is plaguing African-American women. Heart disease, the number one killer in the United States, accounts for nearly 50,000 deaths among African American females year after year. African American women also tend to die earlier than other races due to heart disease, but there is still hope. Being aware of heart disease and the steps you can take to prevent it can help reduce those numbers.
What is Heart Disease?
Essentially, heart disease is a range of conditions and factors that affect your heart. Dr. Rajesh Kabra with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare says “common heart diseases seen in African-American women include coronary artery disease, which involves complications such as clogging of the blood vessels to the heart, heart failure and irregular heart rhythm. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.” Dr. Kabra also mentions that strong family history of heart disease, physical inactivity and smoking, all contribute to weakened heart health.
Dr. Kabra sees these risk factors in the African-American community on a daily basis. Common symptoms of heart disease can include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting spells. But many patients may not even have symptoms. Thankfully, there have been substantial advancements in the world of cardiology and medicines to prevent and treat heart disease. Dr. Kabra and his team offer patients struggling with heart disease treatments with stents, angioplasty and catheter ablations along with advanced treatment for individuals experiencing heart failure.
“The main challenge in preventing heart disease is lifestyle. And prevention is better than cure,” says Dr. Kabra. “Patients need to be more aware and more engaged in their treatment.”
7 Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
The American Heart Association encourages people to develop a healthy lifestyle through Life’s Simple 7, 7 simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease.
1. Manage your blood pressure
Keeping your blood pressure within a healthy range can help ensure your heart functions as intended.
2. Control your cholesterol
Controlling your cholesterol reduces plaque buildup, which, when left unattended, can lead to heart disease and stroke.
3. Reduce blood sugar
Managing the food we eat can reduce the amount of blood sugar that your body uses. Higher blood sugar levels can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and even your nerves.
4. Get active
One of the best ways to prevent heart disease is to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including being physically active. Daily physical activity can increase your length and quality of life.
5. Eat better
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to fight heart disease. Your chances of both feeling good and staying healthy are improved by simply making health food choices.
6. Lose weight
When you lose unnecessary weight, you reduce the strain on your heart and body. Lowering your weight to a healthier level can lower your blood pressure and keep your body healthy.
7. Stop smoking
Cigarette smoking can lead to a higher risk of developing heart disease. When it comes to smoking, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
Begin Your Heart Health Journey
Dr. Kabra encourages those who want to improve their heart health to stay physically active, visit a doctor regularly and do not ignore symptoms. He adds that in Shelby County in Tennessee, heart disease is much more prevalent than in other states in the United States - all the more reason to begin your heart health journey and visit your doctor today.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEART HEALTH
Our heart health specialists are here to help you.