Take health to heart this February

This month is Heart Health Month. It’s also Black History Month. And state health officials are drawing a connection between the two with a blunt truth: heart disease risk is highest among black people.

In Washington, high blood pressure in black people is about 40 percent higher – and the death rate of heart disease and stroke is about 20 percent higher – than for Caucasians.

High blood pressure is major cause of heart attack and stroke among black people, according to state health officials.

“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, at the state Department of Health, in a news release.

Here are some more heart truths about high blood pressure:


Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.