What Black women in their 20s and 30s can do to prevent heart disease

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Michelle Bradley Emebo’s maternal grandmother had open heart surgery. Her mother had a stroke at the age of 37 and her father has vascular dementia, which has been linked to his smoking.

Bradley Emebo’s family medical history came into play during the third trimester of her pregnancy when she was diagnosed with high blood pressure at the age of 30. Before she got pregnant, her health data were “pretty normal”.

According to the Tinley Park, Illinois-based doctor, after the birth of their now 5-year-old daughter Sarai, her doctor said her blood pressure was likely to drop again. But three months later, Bradley’s Internal Internist started her low-dose drug for high blood pressure. Over a year later, the high blood pressure persisted and her doctor wanted to increase her medication.

“I knew that if I didn’t do anything to correct my high blood pressure, it could lead to further health complications. … It was a big deal for me,” she said.

High blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease, is “a big deal” for many black women, according to a new study by Emory University Hospital. The Atlanta Institution’s Women’s Heart Center 10,000 Women Project, which offers free cardiovascular risk screenings with an emphasis on black women, found that this population had a high rate of risk factors as they were in their twenties and thirties Development of the heart brought disease.

Dr. Nishant Vatsa, internist at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and lead author of the study, analyzed data collected from 2015 to 2018 from 945 black women who participated in the project. The researchers looked at health markers such as body mass index, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. socio-economic factors such as education, income and health insurance; and lifestyle choices like smoking, diet, and exercise.

The average body mass index for black women ages 20 to 39 was 31, a value that is considered clinically obese. It was 30 or more for all age groups in the study. Between the ages of 20 and 39, black women had an average systolic blood pressure of 122 mmHg – higher than the 120 mmHg considered normal according to the 2017 American College of Cardiology / American Heart Association guideline. That number got worse with age. Middle-aged and elderly black women had mean systolic blood pressures of nearly 133 and 142, respectively.

Almost one in three women in the study, ages 20 to 39, said they ate fast food at least three times a week, and two in five women consumed more than the recommended amount of salt a day, related to the main risk factors for heart disease – obesity and high blood pressure.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men, killing more people than all cancers combined. Nearly 50,000 African American women die of cardiovascular disease annually, according to the American Heart Association.

Vatsa hopes the study will raise awareness of heart disease among the public and health care providers so that they can educate, monitor, and properly treat their patients.

Dr. May Bakir, cardiologist and medical director at Loyola Medicine’s relaunched women’s heart health program, agrees that more education is needed for the public and alternative practitioners. However, she believes that strategies to raise public awareness based on genetic, socio-economic and unconscious biases in health care need to be multi-faceted.

“People are getting older, we have older children, there are different stressors every day. … All of these play a role in why we may see heart disease show up at an earlier age,” Bakir said. “Two out of three women have (at least one risk factor for) heart disease. One in three women will die from it. And not enough people know that.”

What’s Driving the Increase in Heart Disease? “The answer to this is not entirely clear,” said Bakir, “although we do know that some likely explanations (that) complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease and also to severe inequalities in social justice exacerbate these processes. ” and contribute to disparities. “

Vatsa suggests discussing cardiovascular health with your GP when you are in your late teens and having more conversations about diet and exercise that can help relieve heart disease. He said screening initiatives like the 10,000 Women Project need to be brought to all communities.

Once patients have been assessed and advised that they may have these risk factors, they are more likely to be more active about their health and try to reduce these risk factors. It was also helpful, he said, to make preventive care more accessible through telemedicine, to have more color doctors and to get rid of food wastes.

“Now that we know that certain risk factors come earlier, and that preventative care works well to mitigate them, I think studies are looking at different preventative strategies and timing of those strategies and their effects on cardiovascular disease, morbidity and mortality investigate black women who would do so. ” is very, very useful, “he said.

Bakir wishes to see greater investment in more gender and race specific research to gain a better understanding of gender and racial differences in cardiovascular disease. Where chest pain and tension can be symptoms that men with heart disease report, many more women complain of fatigue and shortness of breath, according to Bakir.

Bradley Emebo, 36, took control of her blood pressure problem through exercise, help from a nutritionist, and controlling her stress levels. When she gave birth to her daughter, the clinical researcher weighed 232 pounds. She lost weight over two years and currently weighs 157 pounds. She was able to return her blood pressure to normal and leave her blood pressure medication behind.

“Know that you have the power to take control of your health,” she said. “When you say certain buzzwords like cancer, people understand how deadly it is. A lot of people don’t understand how deadly obesity is, how deadly high blood pressure is. How deadly it is even to be prediabetic. Heart disease is our problem, and so is it We have to start really pushing this point in our church, and when I say our church, I mean African American women. ”

Cardiovascular risk factors appear early in black women

Quote: What Black Women in their Twenties and Thirties Can Do to Prevent Heart Disease (2021 May 10), Retrieved May 10, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-black-women-20s- 30s-heart. html

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