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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Heart Disease - Black women

Contrary to general beliefs, black women are more likely to die from Coronary Heart Disease than caucasian women perhaps because they are more likely to have more risk factors, including high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, obesity, stress and smoking. In all cases, one of the problems is that many women don't recognize the warning signs of coronary heart disease (CHD) until their health and their lives are at risk.


What is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?

Like any muscle, the heart needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients that are carried to it by the blood in the coronary arteries. When the coronary arteries become narrowed or clogged and cannot supply enough blood to the heart, the result is CHD. If not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches the heart, the heart may respond with a pain called angina. The pain is usually felt in the chest or sometimes in the left arm and shoulder. The same inadequate blood supply may sometimes cause no symptoms and this condition is called silent angina. WHen the blood supply is cut of completely, the result is a heart attack. The part of the heart that does not receive oxygen begins to die, and some of the heart muscle may be permanently damaged. Heart attack and stroke are common results of conditions that restrict or stop the blood flow to the heart or brain.


What causes CHD?

CHD is caused by a thickening of the inside walls of the coronary arteries. This thickening, called atherosclerosis, narrows the space through which blood can flow, decreasing and sometimes completely cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart.
Atherosclerosis usually occurs when a person has high levels of cholesterol, a fat-like substance, in the blood. Cholesterol and fat, circulating in the blood, build up on the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries and can slow or block the flow of blood. When the level of cholesterol in the blood is high, there is a greater chance that it will be depositied onto the artery walls. This process begins in most people during childhood and the teenage years, and worsens as they get older.
In addition to high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking also contribute to CHD. On average, each of these doubles your chance of developing heart disease. Therefore, a person who has all three risk factors is eight time more likely to develop heart disease than someone who has none. Obesity and physical inactivity are other factors that can lead to CHD. Overweight increases the likelihood of developing high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, and physical inactivity increases the risk of heart attack. Regular exercise, good nutrition, and smoking cessation are key to controlling the risk factors for CHD.
Ladies, our health is our most precious possession, we need to take care of ourselves. Tomorrow won't do...it starts today.
There is an interesting article here: http://hubpages.com/hub/Black-women-and-Heart-Disease

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