As we start this month with celebrating the present day and history of all people in our black communities. Let us remember that we must stay in tuned with our bodies as well.
Statistics show that individuals who live in our black communities that are poor, members of a racial and ethnic minority or live in rural areas or urban inner cities have an increased chance of higher rates of disease, disability and death from a host of health issues that will also continue throughout generations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S". It is also reported that in 2015 to 2018 data among "non-Hispanic black adults 20 years of age and older 60.1% of males and 58.8% of females had cardiovascular disease". The number of deaths caused by heart disease in 2019 was 57,761 non-Hispanic black males and 54,544 non-Hispanic black females in the state of Virginia.
We all work hard to provide viable resources, education to and for our communities, and let's not forget the disparity in health care, value for our black communities. I myself have experienced the need to reevaluate the type of doctors that I see outside of our community. I have lived in VA for 2 years and eat much better now as I age towards retirement. But one thing that I have experienced is that I am still taking and being prescribed the same dosage of blood pressure medication since year 2000. It is now 2024 there has not been a doctor that I have seen that even asked me about how I am feeling when taking the meds, the inflammation that it causes, the swelling that it now causes and my blood pressure is not even controlled with the medication that has never been adjusted in 24 years.
With the world of AI, Social Media and free information as well as TicToc, we still need people who actually care about our health when we walk into the office to have meaningful conversations about old chart records. Instead of just duplicating information why not ask me, help me and then monitor me to see if your recommendations truly work. I know that we in our black communities need to take responsibility. It does start there it does start with us. WE in our black communities have a lot to do and a long way to go.
Where do we start? What do we do now? Let's start today by tracking our food that we eat for one week, it will alert us to how much money we spend on food, choices will become more apparent, once we finish the week with all of our documented notes. Let's then look up those food choices and write down how it affected or infected our bodies, read food labels, educate yourselves. Did any foods cause you headaches, inflammation, fatigue, etc.? If so, write that down too. Once that is all done, then put together an action plan. Set up an appointment with your Community Health Worker, Dr. or even a family member who will hold you accountable so that you can get a full panel of blood work done. Once you get those results, look up what your blood type is and then do your research with real doctors The Mayo Clinic, if your physician really cares, he can help you to set up a diet that is right for your body, so that you will make healthier food choices. This will be the start of your correction in food choice journey. Just write down one week at a time, this is raising awareness. Once you stay committed to improving your health, add in 15 minutes of workout a day, write down how that makes you feel. One day at a time, can help you to stay in tune with your body. You can then help those in your household do the same thing, make it a family affair. Growth will motivate you with this journey as you grow towards better health, grow towards helping your family, that in turn will help us all in our black communities.
Black History Month and Heart Health Month are equally important! Let's gain more information on how we can develop good eating habits, exercise and heathy living so that we can lower the number of us dying due to cardiovascular disease.
Need more information/
Resource links: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/coronary
Resource links: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/women.htm
Resource links: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/habits
Resource links: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure
Resource links: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/men.htm
Have something to add, we look forward to hearing from you. Celebrate us all in our black communities, help those who need help and remember the heart.