The Heart. It’s the center of our bodies, the beat to our lives and the source of our love — and it’s at risk. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, and Hispanics are at an even higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke because of risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Knowing your risk and understanding the warning signs of heart disease and stroke can help keep your heart healthy and strong. Making simple lifestyle changes can help lower your risk and reduce your chances of getting cardiovascular disease.
High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure (also known as hypertension) is common among Hispanics and is a major risk for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure is higher than normal, your risk for stroke drastically increases. Blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because there are almost no symptoms. Keep tabs on it by knowing your numbers and discussing them with your doctor.
Extra weight means extra work for your heart. About 75 percent of Mexican-American men and 72 percent of women age 20 and older are overweight or obese.
Heart disease and stroke are hereditary. If you have a history of heart disease and stroke in your family, you are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes is very common among Hispanics; an estimated 30 percent have diabetes and about half don’t know it. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease and other serious health problems.
Check your blood pressure regularly and know your numbers. When you know what’s normal for your body, you may be able to detect a problem before it becomes serious. Discuss treatment plans with your doctor and start to track your progress. An ideal blood pressure is 120/80.
Maintain a healthy weight. When your body is working harder for every step, your heart is working harder with every beat. Making small lifestyle changes in your diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight will help ease the pressure on your heart and help you look and feel great!
Eat a healthy diet. Food is fuel for your heart. Your body needs nutritious foods with a variety a fruits and vegetables and whole grains, with limited sugars and limited salts. Get the entire family involved in planning and eating a healthy diet.
Keep your heart healthy!