hf1Cardiovascular disease (CVD): prevention and control

*₁Cardiovasculardisease is any of a number of specific diseases that affect the heart itself and/or the blood vessel system, especially the veins and arteries leading to and from the heart. Research on disease dimorphism suggests that women who suffer with cardiovascular disease usually suffer from forms that affect the blood vessels while men usually suffer from forms that affect the heart muscle itself. Known or associated causes of cardiovascular disease include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperhomocysteinemia and hypercholesterolemia.

*₂An estimated 16.7 million – or 29.2% of total global deaths – result from the various forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD), many of which are preventable by action on the major primary risk factors: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and smoking. More than 50% of the deaths and disability from heart disease and strokes, which together kill more than 12 million people each year, can be cut by a combination of simple, cost-effective national efforts and individual actions to reduce major risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking.

And these are no longer only diseases of the developed world: some 80% of all CVD deaths worldwide took place in developing, low and middle-income countries, while these countries also accounted for 86% of the global CVD disease burden. It is estimated that by 2010, CVD will be the leading cause of death in developing countries.

Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease; America’s No. 1 killer, especially for African Americans. *₃African American adults are less likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease and they are more likely to die from heart disease than their counterparts due to various health disparities.

Blood cholesterol for adults is classified by levels. Your healthcare provider must interpret your cholesterol numbers based on other risk factors such as age, gender, family history, race, smoking, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes.

Everyone age 20 and older should have a fasting “lipoprotein profile” (blood test) every five years. This test is done after a nine- to 12-hour fast without food, liquids or pills. It gives information about total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats). If your cholesterol is high or you have other risk factors,your healthcare provider will likely want to monitor your cholesterol more closely.

Take responsibility for managing your cholesterol levels and health. Whether you’ve been prescribed medication or advised to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations.

hf2For more information on heart disease including cholesterol levels and heart healthy diet please visit: http://www.americanheart.org

*Researchers have found that the disparity in rates of heart disease deaths between African Americans and whites can be attributed in large part to low levels of vitamin D in a substantial portion of the black population. To read more about this please visit; http://www.abcardio.org

Lifestyle Changes
Your diet (eating habits), weight, physical activity and exposure to tobacco smoke all affect your cholesterol level which affects your heart and these factors may be controlled by:


  • eating a heart-healthy diet which includes a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, limit sodium (salt) intake, increase fiber
  • enjoying regular physical activity
  • avoiding tobacco smoke  

Know Your Blood Pressure and Keep it Under Control

High blood pressure (HBP), or Hypertension, is a disease. Many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. Most of the time, there are no symptoms, but when high blood pressure goes untreated, it damages arteries and vital organs throughout the body. That’s why high blood pressure is often called the “silent killer“. Even though it typically has no symptoms, HBP can have deadly health consequences if not treated

*₃ African American adults are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure, they are 10% less likely than their non-Hispanic White counterparts to have their blood pressure under control.

Even if your blood pressure is normal, you should consider making lifestyle modifications to prevent the development of HBP and improve your heart health. Have your Blood Pressure checked regularly and eat a he art healthy diet!
For more information on HBP, Stroke Warning Signs and recommendations for Healthy Blood Pressure visit;  http://www.americanheart.org

hf3Know your blood glucose level and keep then under control. It can save your life.

According to WHO (World Health Organization) in 2000 there were 171,000,000 reported cases of Diabetes worldwide and by the year 2030 these numbers will more than double with an estimate of 366,000,000.

Data from the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet (the most recent year for which data is available)

23.6 million children and adults in the United States; 7.8% of the population have diabetes.

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless. Recent studies indicate that the early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes. ForComplications associated with Diabetes please visit; http://www.diabetes.org/

African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. In addition, they are more likely to suffer complications from diabetes, such as end-stage renal disease and lower extremity amputations. Although African Americans have the same or lower rate of high cholesterol as their non-Hispanic white counterparts, they are more likely to have high blood pressure.

  • African American adults are twice as likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.
  • In 2006, African American men were 2.2 times as likely to start treatment for end-stage renal disease related to diabetes, as compared to non-Hispanic white men.
  • In 2005, diabetic African Americans were twice as likely as diabetic Whites to be hospitalized.
  • In 2006, African Americans were 2.3 times as likely as non-Hispanic Whites to die from diabetes.

*₅Research studies have found that moderate weight loss and exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes among adults at high-risk of diabetes. For more information visit; http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/consumer/prevent.htm

Diabetes is treatable and there are various options for treatment that must be discussed with your healthcare provider. 

People with diabetes can eat the same foods the family enjoys. Everyone benefits from healthy eating so the whole family can take part in healthy eating. It takes some planning but you can fit your favorite foods into your meal plan and still manage your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol. 

For more information on healthy food choices please visit; http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/diabetes-meal-plans-and-a-healthy-diet.html

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ABC and D of HIV/AIDS and STDs
Abstinence or not having sex is the ONLY 100% chance of not contracting or spreading HIV or any STDs (sexually transmitted disease). A little self control goes a long way!

B=Be faithful; if you and your partner are monogamous (one on one relationship), and you both are uninfected with HIV or any STDs (that means you’ve been tested for HIV and other STDs). Be faithful to each other and yourself.

C=Caution; if you are sexually active with multiple partners or your partner is promiscuous, take precautions. Use Condoms, but remember they are only 98-99% effective, only if used consistently! Self Control is the big C in this equation.  Control your body and mind; don’t let others control them for you!

And don’t forget D


D=Do not share drug paraphernalia. We do not promote drug use, but if you do remember that; Intravenous Drug Use was the second leading mode of transmission (16.2% in males, 36.6% in females).


Useful Health Links

Information on Diabetes

Information on Heart Disease

The Association of Black Cardiologist

American Dietetic Association

Information on Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Including info on HIV/AIDS

National Association fro Mental Illness

Chicago City Colleges

FoJanga School, The Gambia

Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic