With about 56.6 million of our nation’s population being of Hispanic decent, it is important that the largest growing minority group know their risks for heart disease and stroke. National Hispanic Heritage Month spans from September 15 to October 15 and while it is a great time to celebrate the amazing music, art, language, food, and diversity that comes from Hispanic Culture, it is also an important time to reflect on our health.
Heart disease doesn’t discriminate. Among Hispanic adults age 20 and older, almost 50 percent of males and 43 percent of females have some form of cardiovascular disease. A lack of awareness, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure are all factors that play into the Nation’s No.1 killer. How can we change this and make a difference? The answer begins with YOU! Other than being familiar with your family history, there are ways you can create awareness at home, school, or in your community. Being an example can help others be more familiar with their own health. Here are a few small changes recommended by the American Heart Association that you can make to create a big impact on your overall health.
- Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Around 32 percent of Hispanic children are overweight or obese, that number jumps to almost 70 percent among adults. For overall cardiovascular health, aim for the American Heart Association’s recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity.
- Reduce your sodium consumption. Limit your daily sodium intake to 1500mg a day, recommended by the American Heart Association. Refrain from keeping a salt shaker at the family dinner table to avoid unnecessary sodium intake.
- Quit Smoking. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease and is one of the most preventable ways to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Most recently, there has been an increase in interest in e-cigarettes and vaping products. These products are dangerous for all adults and youth as nicotine is an addictive drug that rewires the developing brain and poses significant health risks to e-cigarette users.