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:

  • About 70 percent of people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure.
  • About 80 percent of people having their first stroke have high blood pressure.
  • About 70 percent of people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for kidney disease.


Marissa Harshman

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 marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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