By Samantha McKenzie
Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer in the world. Stroke is No. 2.
Hypertension, obesity and diabetes are not far behind.
Another staggering fact: Among African-American women, 48% of women and 46% of men have some form of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association’s 2016 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update. African-Americans have nearly twice the risk for a first-ever stroke than whites.
The data is jolting. But the numbers aren’t meant to scare us.
Instead, the goal is to paint a global picture of what happens to us when we do not take care of ourselves, when we do not manage our diet and when we allow everything else to be more important than our own health.
While there are factors beyond our control, like proper health care, environmental factors, etc., we can prevent most of these diseases by living healthier. What is in our control is what we eat, how much physical activity we get, and how well we manage our stress.
Think about this: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IS DETERMINED BY YOUR HEALTH.
I don’t want to be comfortable with Type 2 diabetes. I want to get uncomfortable being overweight. I want us all to get uncomfortable with missing our mammograms, or skipping an annual exam.
What’s needed is more intimate conversations with one another about the state of our health. Let’s interrupt each other’s lives with some healthy dialogue about self-care. Let’s be the generation of women who take long walks in the evenings and share healthy recipes and who eliminate disease.
While we are celebrating the great contributions of African Americans this month, let’s also celebrate using less sugar, cutting carbs and putting down the salt shaker.
Get more active.
Plan healthier meals.
Increase your heart rate.
Let’s commit to using February, National Heart Health month, to reduce our risks and improve our life span.
Go Red! on Friday, Feb. 5, National Wear Red Day. Change your lifestyle. Tell a friend.
For more information on heart healthier living, visit www.heart.org/HEARTORG/.