According to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the United States number one killer of men and women of all ethnic groups. The statistical update for 2005 utilized the statistics compiled for 2002, or the most recent year that data are available.
Cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure, arrhythmia, valve disease, congestive heart failure and stroke. Coronary heart disease (CHD) or hardening of the arteries is the largest killer of Americans. There were 494.4 thousand coronary heart disease deaths in 2002 including 179.5 thousand deaths from heart attack. The deaths from CHD included 241.6 thousand females of which 25.9 thousand were Black females. The number of deaths from strokes for Black females was 9.6 thousand.
o 1 in 4 females has some form of cardiovascular disease.
o Since 1984, the number of CVD deaths for females has exceeded those for males.
o In 2002 CVD caused the deaths of 493, 623 females compared with 433,825 males. Females represent 53.2 percent of deaths from CVD.
o In the United States in 2002, all cardiovascular diseases combined claim the lives of 493,623 females while all forms of cancer combined to kill 268,503 females. Breast cancer claimed the lives of 41,514 females; lung cancer claimed 67,542.
o The 2002 overall death rate from CVD was 320.5. Death rates were ¬–265.6 for white females –368.1 for black females.
o *In 2002 cardiovascular disease was the first listed diagnosis of 3,164,000 females discharged from short-stay hospitals. Discharges include people both living and dead.
The risk factors for CVD are not only common in the African America community, they are also preventable. These factors include high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol profile, overweight & obesity, abnormal blood glucose and the use of tobacco.
Risk factors are preventable at an early age, before manifesting as cardiovascular disease later.
Lifestyle choices for prevention include but are not limited to:
o Exercising 30 minutes daily
o Eat vegetables, fruits and grains
o Eat a low fat, low carbohydrate, low cholesterol, low salt diet
o Eat fish, lean meats, poultry
o Drink eight glasses of water daily
o Eliminate processed foods, sugar, pastry
o Reduce life stressors and/or reaction to stressors
o Engage in spiritual activities
o Give community service
Due to the urgent need for ongoing intervention to reverse the trend of increasing numbers of diabetes and obesity, heart disease and stroke, I have partnered with the American Heart Association to provide a community awareness program to help improve the health and wellness of community residents. This
program revolves around the National Go Red for Women and Heart Health initiatives.
To help raise the awareness of community residents and its members at large, of the need for heart health and the prevention of CAD in women, I encourage women to join me on February 3 by wearing red, in accordance with the American Heart Association’s National Go Red for Women Day. In addition I ask women to schedule an appointment for themselves and family members to see their nurse practitioner, internist, or pediatrician.