Heart disease is the No. 1 killer for all Americans, Blacks at highest risk | Department of Health

Nearly half of all adults have high blood pressure, a huge factor in heart attacks and strokes.

  • Friday, February 2, 2018 10:30am
  • News

February is Black History Month; it’s also Heart Health Month and the risk of getting heart disease remains highest for African-Americans.

The American Heart Association estimates that nearly half of all adults have high blood pressure. This is a concern because high blood pressure is a major cause of heart attack and stroke in African-Americans.

“You can’t change your ethnicity or family history, but what you can do is know your blood pressure numbers, get them checked regularly, and take action to keep them in a healthy range,” said Dr. Cheryl Farmer, Washington State Department of Health.

In Washington, high blood pressure in African-Americans is about 40 percent higher, and the death rate of heart disease and stroke is about 28 percent higher than for Caucasians.

High blood pressure increases the risk of dangerous health conditions:

  • First heart attack: About seven of every 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure.
  • First stroke: About eight of every 10 people having their first stroke have high blood pressure.
  • Chronic heart failure: About seven of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for kidney disease.

During Heart Health Month, DOH wants all Washingtonians to know their family health history, understand their risk of heart disease, and take steps to manage their blood pressure.

Increase the awareness of heart disease by wearing red on National Wear Red Day, Feb. 2.

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