Black Health: Tips on Living a Healthy Life

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Naomi NanceRegister Reporter:

February is National Heart Awareness Month, a national effort to bring awareness of heart disease and the many things that can lead to its development. This month is dedicated to educate the general public in hopes to prevent the #1 silent killer in the nation from claiming our loved ones.

What exactly is heart disease? Heart disease occurs when plaque in the arteries builds up along the artery walls and blocks or hinders the blood flow to the heart or brain.

Heart disease leads to many unfortunate health problems including heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, and heart valve issues. In America alone, 1.5 million citizens suffer from heart attacks and strokes- most of which are African Americans.

Although they affect the human body in different ways, both heart attacks and strokes have caused many fatalities.

The hindrance of full or partial blood flow to the heart causes heart attacks. Plaque is a sticky substance that clings to the artery walls and causes blood clots to form, thus blocking the flow of blood. Heart attacks are induced when the blood flow is completely cut off, and arteries start to die.

Strokes, however, affect the brain and the blood vessels located in the cerebral membrane. There are two different types of strokes, ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.

Ischemic strokes are caused when plaque builds up in the arteries and blocks the blood flow to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes are the result of blood clots formed from the accumulation of plaque, causing blood vessels to burst from a lot of pressure within the artery.

The African American population is more prone to heart disease and its consequential ailments more than any other race. Countless statistics indi

cate that African Americans are affected more than any other race or ethnic group. Black culture and way of life is directly linked to the many heart issues we deal with and ultimately helped develop and mature due to our habits.

Leading factors of heart disease include: high cholesterol, smoking, lack of exercise, and stress. As a people, African Americans fall victim to many of these poor lifestyle habits. The solutions to such problems can only be accomplished through incorporating and maintaining permanent diet, health, and lifestyle changes.

Maintaining healthy blood pressure is essential to preventing heart disease. Physicians and pharmacists can help keep your blood pressure on a healthy track. Taking your blood pressure on a weekly basis and monitoring its numbers is a great way to stay in good health, along with any prescribed blood pressure medication.

Staying active is essential to improving and maintaining good heart health, as it strengthens the heart and arteries.

Diet is the hardest component of staying on a healthy track for most individuals. Food is a weakness for the human race; we love it and at most times eat things that we know we shouldn’t. The key is finding and maintaining a balance that enables you to find healthier ways to eat the things you love.

Knowledge is power and applying that knowledge only yields good results.

We have the tools to be successful, the question is whether we will put them to good use to benefit ourselves, our families, and the African American race as a whole.