4 things to know about heart disease in African American women

Heart disease and stroke is the number one killer in women, and stroke disproportionately affects African Americans, according to the American Heart Association.

News 12 Staff

Feb 8, 2024, 9:30 AM

Updated 64 days ago

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Heart disease and stroke is the number one killer in women, and stroke disproportionately affects African Americans, according to the American Heart Association
Here are some things to know about heart disease in African American women:

1. Unsettling stats

Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African American women annually.
Of African American women ages 20 and older, 49% have heart diseases.
Only one in five African American women believes she is personally at risk.
Only 52% of African American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Click here to learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke.
Only 36% of African American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.

2. The truth about high blood pressure

More than 40% of non-Hispanic Blacks have high blood pressure, which is more severe in Blacks than whites, and develops earlier in life. 

3. But why is it targeting African Americans?

Researchers have found that there may be a gene that makes African Americans much more sensitive to the effects of salt, which in turn increases the risk for developing high blood pressure. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure by as much as five millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

4. So what's the solution?

For starters, lower the amount of salt and sodium you eat. In fact, make a serious effort to improve your eating habits by learning about healthy eating, and healthy cooking skills. And of course, if you’re not already active, get moving. Here are some simple steps for long-term benefits to your health and heart.


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