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We Should All Care About Black Health Issues

October 7, 2013

I recently came across an article about GMOs posted by a friend on Facebook and a quote stuck out to me from it that raised more questions.

major health problems among Black men and Black women, who lead in an array of cancers, are more likely to die from heart disease and suffer from diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure…

Why? And why should it matter to us? You mean aside from those of us with friends, co-workers or family members who have black skin? You mean aside from everyone eats and wants a healthy lifestyle for their kids? No matter what we farm, most farmers I know are interested in making a living, but also in providing safe food and healthy ingredients for those who want more processed food choices.

The statistics are scary:

•    African Americans lead in 24.5 percent of heart disease related deaths and complications.
•    One in two African American women will develop heart disease in their lifetime.
•    A woman with diabetes is at least three times more likely to have a heart attack.
•     High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease.
•    About half of Americans (49 percent) have at least one of these three risk factors.

And the CDC is more dire:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States. Among Hispanic women, heart disease and cancer cause roughly the same number of deaths each year. For American Indian or Alaska Native and Asian or Pacific Islander women, heart disease is second only to cancer.

As women it pays to pay attention. Statistically we will know someone who will die from heart disease and cancer in our lifetime and may be affected ourselves. That’s not maybe, that’s a relative certainty. For black women, it’s even more unfair, it seems:

Black women suffer rates of heart disease that are twice as high as those among white women. Some of the factors that contribute to this disparity include higher rates of overweight and obesity, higher rates of elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure and limited awareness of our elevated risks. In addition to having high heart disease rates, Black women die from heart disease more often than all other Americans.

 

We know many of the risks. We’ve used the excuses. An older study shows not only are black women more likely to be affected, but blacks are more likely to die from it. Part of this is the care taken.

Black patients, about 10 percent of the group, tended to suffer from other diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, that affected their chances of survival.

WebMD adds another note on hypertension: It’s believed that blacks in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmerica have a salt sensitivity – use care and taste food before reaching for the salt shaker (something that, really, we all should follow). Salt is a preservative as well as a seasoning, and while we need salt, we don’t need it at the level many of us consume it at. A little research shows in 1999 hypertension affected about 31% of black Americans – now it’s listed as 40%. We’re going the wrong way folks! This may mean less processed foods, using home processed options with lower salt.

Although we’re not health experts, we are rather attached to friends. We’d like to see them around, and most of us have friends and family that would like to have us around. We can’t eliminate all risk but we can alter our health with better choices.

Let’s take a quest for health. We’re all different – we’re not doctors and many of us are too stubborn to go to doctors. We can’t afford it or don’t trust them. As it comes upon four years since Helen fell sick, we all can do little things to be here a little longer for our friends and family.

Your doctor can easily measure blood pressure. A blood pressure reading includes two numbers, one written on top of the other.

The top number is called your systolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels during your heartbeat.

  • 119 or below is the normal systolic blood pressure
  • 120-139 is prehypertension
  • 140 and greater is high blood pressure

The bottom number is called your diastolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels in between heartbeats, while your heart is resting.

  • 79 or below is normal diastolic blood pressure
  • 80-89 is prehypertension
  • 90 and greater is high blood pressure

The above, from WebMD, is a basic step one – know your bloodpressure. Find out – you can have it checked many places for free. Check it, track it, take the first step to a healthier life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoin me on the Facebook page for a health quest. Our food, clinics, retreats and more is all a big part of a healthier lifestyle, but without core changes it’s butting a bandaid on a much bigger problem. You don’t have to buy anything from us – you don’t have to be a customer. Take the steps to get healthy – we’ll work with small changes and big ones. Spread the word, go follow the page (and make sure it’s clicked so we show up on the stream!). I’ll strive to post daily resources, health tips and more. Follow the page – costs nothing!

Don’t wait until January 1 for resolutions that don’t always work. Let’s start now. Step one – get your blood pressure checked. Know what it is – check it several times over the next week. get familiar with the numbers as above.

Let’s take steps to get healthier.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2013 8:07 PM

    It’s good to see more people focusing on the health issues peculiar to the black community. We have neglected our health for so long…it’s time to sit up! Good article, useful in raising awareness.

    • October 7, 2013 11:11 PM

      Thanks for stopping by! It’s sad that statistically it affects so many people no matter what race or color, but little things to make a difference can help. Prevention is always better, and I think we *all* can do better for our health. I hope maybe it gets people thinking rather than taking for granted what we’re blessed with – good health – until it’s too late.

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