Updated: Feb 7, 2021
What is heart is disease?
Heart Disease (or heart failure) describes a wide range of illnesses that impact the heart and refers to the narrowing or blocking of blood vessels, so that the heart muscle can’t pump enough blood around the body.
What is the impact to black people?
According to the CDC, one of the leading causes of death amongst black people is heart disease (link), and studies show that black Americans are more likely to die from heart failure than other races, and also display symptoms at a younger age, being the most common group to die from heart failure before the age of 50 (link).
These studies are consistent with findings from the British Heart Foundation that shows that African and Afro-Caribbean people have a higher risk of developing heart and circularly disease than Caucasian people (link).
So what can we do?
Studies show that life style changes and healthy eating (link) can reduce your risk of getting heart disease by 50%. Remember ABCEDs, Alcohol, Blood pressure, Cholesterol, Diabetes, Exercise and Smoking (link).
Alcohol – Don’t consume alcohol in excess, which means don’t drink more than 100g of alcohol in a week. Woow, I feel that the Turn-Up community tearing up already!
Blood pressure – Maintain a healthy blood pressure by eating foods that are typically high in fibre and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, check out my article on dietary factors and high blood pressure in black people.
Cholesterol – Studies show that lowering your cholesterol by replacing your saturated fats (which can be found in fatty cuts of meat, tropical oils and lard), with polyunsaturated fats (which can be found in salmon, vegetable oil and some nuts and seeds) can reduce your cardiovascular risk.
Diabetes – Plant based diets and foods high in Omega3 are recommended to help to reduce your risk of diabetes.
Exercise - The US department of health recommend doing as little of ~20 minutes of moderate exercise every day could improve your health. Here’s a link to the regime I’m doing at the moment, and for those pro’s out there why not try his 30 workout link.
Smoking – Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than non/never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.
What is the main take away
If heart disease is one of the main killers of black people, we need to educate ourselves on what we can do to stop this killer in our communities. We all know we need to exercise and drink less alcohol, but perhaps you are like me and didn’t exactly know what specific things you could do to reduce your risk factor, so I hope this article gave you a guide to start your journey on reducing your risk of heart disease.