Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death around the world. And while deaths from cardiovascular-related illnesses have declined over the last two decades, these gains were not equitably shared among people from the Black, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native or Hispanic/Latino communities.
Dr. Kathy Wright, assistant professor, The Ohio State University College of Nursing, and American Heart Association (AHA) volunteer, shared this data from the AHA, along with her insights on health care inequities, at a recent Black History Month discussion hosted by the Scotts Black Employees Network (SBEN).
As part of our company’s LiveTotal Health culture of wellness, SBEN hosted the event to educate our associates and bring awareness to the topic of cardiovascular disease.
“Helping associates proactively manage their health is an important part of our culture of wellness at Scotts,” said Steven Springer, brand manager and SBEN president , ScottsMiracle-Gro. “I’m proud that SBEN continues to engage our associates and is able to support this culture of wellness.”
The AHA reports that 121.5 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease and 17.1 million people die every year worldwide from heart-related illnesses.
“Here in the U.S. one out of every three deaths is caused by heart disease or stroke,” said Wright. “Black Americans experience a nearly 30% higher death rate from cardiovascular disease, compared with non-Hispanic white Americans.”
Further statistics reveal health disparity issues when it comes to heart disease. Sixty percent of Black men and 57% of Black women have some form of cardiovascular disease. In the Hispanic population, nearly half of men and 47% of women suffer from some type of cardiovascular disease.
Part of the cause of this equity imbalance is associated with access to a healthy community. A healthy community is defined by a person’s ability to:
- Have opportunities to live healthy
- Have access to a strong education and technology
- Have a healthy environment to live, work, learn, play and pray
- Have an ability to make a living wage
- Have ways to easily travel from one location to another
- Have an affordable and safe place to live
“The greatest injustice is the lack of culturally-tailored, self-care interventions for people of color,” said Wright. “Everyone deserves the chance to be healthy, and no one should be disadvantaged because of their social position or any socially-defined circumstance.”
Wright goes on to say that heart disease is preventable 80% of the time through healthy lifestyle choices. The AHA has identified seven health factors and lifestyle behaviors that support heart health. Research shows an individual’s quality of life can be enhanced by adopting Life’s Simple 7:
- Reduce blood sugar
- Manage blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Manage weight
- Eat better
- Get active
- Stop smoking
To help improve your health, visit www.mylifecheck.heart.org and take the My Life Check Assessment. Input your numbers to see your overall personalized health assessment and cardiovascular health score.