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Recognizing Health Risks During African American Heritage and Health Week

Black History Month is an opportunity to pay tribute to the generations of African Americans that have helped build our country and remember their deeds and sacrifices. However, it’s important to remember to honor your own life as you honor the men and women who have made a difference over the years.

Like Black history, your health is something you need to consider all year round. African Americans are subject to some health disparities, making some health issues more prevalent. Some of these major health risks for African Americans include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Image of man and child with a doctor. Contact Westshore about health risks more common for African Americans.

Watching Out For Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and the disease is even more prevalent is African Americans. Since 2005, over 1 million African Americans have died from cardiovascular disease.

Keeping track of your blood pressure is an important way to watch for symptoms of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, research suggest that African Americans may carry a gene that increases salt sensitivity. Watching your salt intake and watching out for high blood pressure can help you stay ahead of heart disease.

Managing Diabetes

The rate of diabetes in America has rapidly gone up in the past few decades. Blacks are 1.5 times more likely to contract diabetes than Whites. And since over 3 million African Americans age 20 or older have diabetes, this makes it a major concern across the country.

Watching what you eat affects more than just your big meals. Unhealthy snacking can add up and contribute to weight gain. Cut out unnecessary sugary sweets and drinks and swap out fatty foods for lean meats and other healthy dishes. Add in some regular exercise and you’ll be taking some big steps in the fight against diabetes. Even walking just 30 minutes can help elevate your heart rate and help you manage your diabetes.

Battling Obesity

African American adults and children struggle with obesity. Adults have slightly more than 50 percent higher prevalence compared to White adults, while African American boys and girls also have a higher percentage of childhood obesity. In fact, the current generation is the predicted to be the first to not live longer than its parents according to the NAACP. 

Like diabetes, staying active and losing weight is an important way to help fend off obesity. It can be hard to see the warning signs, so make sure you talk to your doctor about prevention tips and maintain regular exercise. Burning calories and getting a good cardiovascular workout can make a big difference for your health.

Staying Healthy with Westshore

Regardless of the month, it’s important to watch your health and do what you can to keep in shape. Give us a call at 440-835-6142 or contact Westshore today to set up an appointment to have one of our physicians check your blood pressure and look for other signs of health issues today.

Dr. Charles H. Duncan, M.D.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact your doctor.

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