All black women should have a cardiovascular health exam after 20 years, and that's what it means


There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, such as getting a heart test. Here is what you need to know.

February is the national month of heart awareness and what black women need to know first and foremost is that cardiovascular disease is our leading cause of death.

Every year, there are nearly 50,000 deaths among black women. The term "cardiovascular disease" refers to problems with the heart and blood vessels. Nearly 50% of black women aged 20 and over have some form of heart disease. Although these statistics may seem depressing, there is good news. There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, such as getting a heart test. Here is what you need to know.

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What does a heart health screening involve?

Typically, heart cancer screening will evaluate five key numbers (see below). Your health care provider may also ask you about your family history and lifestyle, such as smoking, which increases your risk of heart disease.

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  1. Total cholesterol. Total cholesterol is a combined measure of HDL cholesterol (good), LDL cholesterol (bad) and triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood). Cholesterol is a waxy, greasy substance found in every cell in your body. Too much cholesterol in your body can cause plaque build up in your arteries. This can lead to a common type of heart disease called coronary artery disease.
  2. HDL or high density lipoproteins. This is what is called "good" cholesterol because it transports cholesterol from other parts of your body to your liver. Your liver then removes cholesterol from your body.
  3. Blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure, or high blood pressure, occurs when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major concern as it can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
  4. Blood sugar. Also known as blood sugar, it is the main sugar in your blood. It comes from the foods you eat and is the main source of energy for the body. Your blood carries glucose in all the cells of your body for use as a source of energy. If your blood sugar level is too high, you may develop diabetes that can lead to serious problems such as kidney or eye damage. Diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease.
  5. Body mass index. Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for heart disease. A good way to know if you have a healthy weight is to know your body mass index or your BMI. Your BMI is based on your height and weight. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fat. Online BMI Calculators can help you determine your weight category (underweight, normal, overweight or obese).

Where can I get my heart health?

Women may still have heart cancer screening and risk assessment during a routine check-up with a primary health care provider. For this, you must make an appointment in advance, go to your health care provider's office and possibly pay for a medical visit. However, during the month of February, women can visit their local CVS every Thursday to get an opinion. free heart health screening. There are 1100 CVS MinuteClinics in the United States and one in two Americans lives within 15 km of a MinuteClinic. Cardiac tests offered by CVS are supported by TYLENOL.

"A major benefit of CVS heart tests is that they provide free and easy access for people who want their numbers checked," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and a volunteer medical expert. for the American. The Go Red for Women movement of the Heart Association. "Sometimes people do not go to the doctor for years, but they can get into a CVS."

Free screenings can provide useful information about your health and enable you to make proactive changes. They should be considered as a supplement, but not as a replacement for routine medical visits to the doctor.

When should I start

"Heart screenings should start at age 20," said Steinbaum, noting that people with a family history of heart disease and other conditions such as diabetes should talk to their doctor about how often they should be treated. screening. This is because high-risk patients may need more frequent screening and surveillance than those at average risk for heart disease. It is important to work in partnership with your doctor to develop a screening plan that is right for you.

Do not forget about lifestyle changes

About 80% of cardiovascular disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, weight management, and smoking cessation. But for many women, lifestyle changes can be overwhelming. Do not forget to start small and keep faith. Small changes can lead to big results over time. Ask your health care provider for tools and resources for cardiovascular health to help you reach your goals.

For more information, visit Go Red for women.

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