Have You Checked Your Heart Health?
The state of Black women represents the pulse of the community. That’s why we intentionally selected to feature heart health as the last BWHM’s 2021 blog article. As Black women, our wellbeing measures the struggle for social and economic equality in America. From Black Lives Matter and voter suppression to the inequitable outcomes of COVID-19 and the new rise of white supremacy and extremist groups, fear and uncertainty are still major concerns for Black people in this country.
There are many facets in our daily life that limit our ability to collectively live in our natural healthy state. The unending fight for essential rights and equitable treatment indisputably causes constant stress. Society views us as overly ambitious, aggressive, angry, inherently less qualified, and insufficiently represented in business, leadership, and the workforce. Far too often we accept those negative ideologies as truth. Many of us carry the heavy, and often sole, responsibility of caring for children and the elderly. Although the stigma around black women seeking mental therapy for the burdens we bear has decreased, far too many of us are not receiving the care needed.
The significant stress of these issues puts us at a higher risk for diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and other serious chronic illnesses. Moreover, recent studies of epigenetics revealed inherited behaviors that guide development both mentally and physically also adversely affect our health and wellbeing.
While heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability for ALL women in America (20 years and older), Black women have a greater chance of dying and at a younger age than white women from it. We are also nearly twice as likely to suffer from a stroke than white women. A study shared by the Black Women’s Health Initiative in February 2021 revealed the following about Black women in America:
- 1 in 2 have some form of heart disorder, such as clogged arteries, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and angina (chest pain)
- 2 in 3 are not aware of heart diseases risks
- 80% do not think they are personally at risk for heart disease
Protect Your Heart
As the heart of the Black community, it is critical that Black women adopt healthy heart habits. To do that, the BWHM recommends the following practices (linked to additional information for further reading):
- Eat a balanced diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Know your numbers
- Stay active
- Don’t smoke
- Limit alcohol intake
- Take medication as prescribed
- Track family medical history
Take care of your heart. Understand the social cultural constraints we face. Please spread the word by sharing this article with your loved ones.