February is American Heart Month, and the American Heart Association is working to change statistics for minority communities. Every year, about 600,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease. For African Americans, who are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than their counterparts, the race continues to cure racial differences in heart health.

High cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and tobacco use are the highest among black communities. Already prone to these diseases, African American men contribute 48 percent and black women 44 percent to the diagnosis of heart disease. The American Heart Association, which has been a champion of heart health for nearly 100 years, has once again suffered from increased stress around the pandemic, and is helping black women regain their rhythm.

One of my favorite things we’re talking about right now is the Red for Women movement, and our theme is Getting Your Rhythm Back. Getting back to your rhythm is a return to things that bring joy. Those things that inspire you to really live such a better life, ”said Christian Hurley, executive director of the American Heart Association of Southeast Michigan.

Christian Hurley, executive director of the American Heart Association of Southeast Michigan.

Although heart disease does not know race or gender, the AHA Go Red for Women initiative helps raise awareness about black women and heart health. Every year the first Friday of February is dedicated to women; wear red to celebrate heart health, but the celebration and knowledge lasts all month.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer for all Americans of all backgrounds, but we know that during Heart Month we like to focus on women because although heart disease affects us all and is the number one killer, women in particular, one should not often think of heart disease as the number one threat, ”Hurley said. “In particular, colored women will often carry a greater burden of cardiovascular disease.”

Black women are also at risk of hospitalization due to heart failure as they top the statistics of this health crisis.

“Black women have higher hospitalizations due to heart failure, and Hispanic women have higher hospitalizations due to heart failure. Stroke is also a major cause of death among black women. “Especially in African-American women, we have higher levels of high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk factor for stroke as well as heart attacks,” Hurley said.

On the path to heart health African American women are encouraged to be active. Exercise is the driving force of heart health and reduces the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes due to poor nutrition. Moving the body can also help reduce stress and restore mental health.

“Also, black women are less likely to give recommendations for things like aerobic exercise. We don’t tend to be as physically active as we should be. Maybe take care of our communities, our families, our children and focus on others, and it was their time to really focus on themselves and get the exercise they needed, ”Hurley said.

In an effort to reduce weight, blood pressure and other medical conditions, black women are asked to visit their doctor to be aware of their numbers, to reduce the likelihood of disease and to take care of their bodies.

“We need to know our numbers and we need to take action around them. If our blood pressure is high, we need to undergo treatment. We certainly need to do these things in a lifestyle; healthier eating, more physical activity, reduced sodium intake, more frequent blood pressure measurements so we can see and monitor these impacts on our lifestyles, ”Hurley said. “But also get treatment so you can control your blood pressure [with the help of] your healthcare professional »

The American Heart Association is a leader not only in heart health but also research. With the help of scientists, the organization is at the forefront of the fight against heart disease and stroke.

“Of course, people traditionally think of us as a sponsor of research related to cardiovascular disease. “We are funding millions and millions of dollars for research at the national and local levels,” Hurley said. “As a result of this work, we see significant progress in how we treat cardiovascular disease.”

The organization will hold events throughout the month to promote and maintain the heart health of black women and all women.

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