UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America, mainly affecting women.
But according to doctors, black women have a disproportionately higher risk of heart disease than any other ethnic group.
According to statistics from the CDC, the risk of having a stroke or being diagnosed with high blood pressure increases with age.
Black women are also more likely to develop high blood pressure at a younger age.
“Research shows that black women are at a greater risk for heart disease in fact we know that black women 20 years and older 49% of those women have heart disease and only 1 in 5 of those women believe that heart disease is their greatest risk. ” Megan Ramsey said, spokesperson for American Heart Association of the Upstate.
Many are curious as to why these problems seem to target African Americans.
Well according to researchers, there may be a gene that causes a sodium sensitivity among black women. The amount of salt people consume each day could be the difference between life and death. Megan Ramsey with American Heart Association urges people to read labels and choose fruits and vegetables instead of french fries.
The CDC offers a sodium reduced diet guide to help those who want to decrease their sodium intake.
Other researchers have attributed this to major health disparities like the wage gap, access to healthy food options which in turn causes obesity.
“There’s a large disproportionate amount of obesity that happens for African Americans in general, but 73 percent of obesity is attributed to African American women.” said Raul Luevano, Nurse Practitioner at CVS Minute Clinic.
There are several ways to these prevent cardiovascular events like regular doctor visits, blood pressure monitoring, change of diet and exercise.
The CVS Minute Clinic will offer free heart screenings every Thursday during the month of February, this includes checking cholesterol and blood pressure.
Unfortunately, sometimes your genetic makeup can still overpower your healthy lifestyle.
“I’m a vegetarian so I eat oats for breakfast and I eat fruits and vegetables throughout the day, I’m pretty physically active, I’m a very fit marathon runner. I ran 100 miles last year, I am a triathlete as well and last year I was diagnosed with hypertension..” Luevano said.
Researchers say the best way to prevent cardiovascular events is to just know the status of your heart.