FEBRUARY IS AMERICAN HEART MONTH
This year, as our hearts fill with pride while we celebrate Black History Month, let us also remember to focus on our heart health. And not just on Valentines Day – the entire month of February is American Heart Month.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States and certain minority groups face a greater risk than others. Deaths from heart disease are higher in Black Americans than in White Americans and other ethnic groups, and heart disease develops at a younger age in African Americans. Nearly half of all African American women have some form of heart disease, and even in middle and upper-class communities, the rate of heart disease is still higher among Blacks than Whites.
The most common conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke among Black Americans are high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Nearly 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol can be hard to detect, as it often shows no signs or symptoms.”
But, heart disease can often be prevented when people know their risks, make healthy choices and manage their medical conditions. So this month, learn the signs and symptoms and the steps you can take to make a difference in your life and the lives of your loved ones at https://www.goredforwomen.org
To be valued and loved. To know who you are and that you have the power to make a
difference. These are the aspirations that most mothers have their children. In 1938, in the midst
of the Great Depression, twenty African-American mothers in Philadelphia came together not to
hope or to dream, but to provide the opportunities, experiences, and life lessons that would
enable their children and others to live these truths. Their group became Jack and Jill of
America, Inc. – an organization that’s mission is as relevant today as it was some 80 years ago.
The Black Women’s Agenda recently hosted a summit themed, “I Am the Change: Living Your Best Life at Every Age,” at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. Sponsored by AARP and featuring leading experts in the fields of health, education, and economic security, the event focused on the importance of health and wellness in the aging process.
“Too often black women are focused on everyone and everything except themselves,” said panel moderator Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings. “Our concern for and work on behalf of our families and communities competes with our ability to implement self-care strategies that support our physical, emotional, spiritual, and socioeconomic wellbeing.”
According to The American Cancer Society, “Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. The cervical cancer death rate dropped significantly with the increased use of the Pap test for screening. But the death rate has not changed much over the last 15 years.” And several studies show that a disproportionate number of women that die each year from cervical cancer are Black women.
The American Cancer Society also stresses the importance of regular screening for the disease, emphasizing that, “Screening tests offer the best chance to have cervical cancer found early when successful treatment is likely.