American Heart and Black History Month 2014

Foreword by Pastor Morrison

February is an exciting month because it commemorates both American Heart Month and Black History Month. Unfortunately, African Americans suffer more from heart disease than other groups. We are fortunate to have within our community some excellent resources to help us maintain cardiac health. Yale University is also conducting clinical research to find new and better treatments for heart disease. If you participate in a clinical trial, you’re helping not just yourself but other brothers and sisters in our community.

American Heart Month and Black History Month

February is American Heart Month, when there is a lot of attention on prevention and treating heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 83 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. February is also Black History Month, when we remember important people and events from our past and look toward our future. We all need to work hard to maintain our health, but it’s a sad fact that half of all African-American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease

For the first time, the American Heart Association has defined what it means to have ideal cardiovascular health, identifying seven health and behavior factors that impact health and quality of life. Even simple, small changes can make a big difference in living a better life. Known as “Life’s Simple 7,” these steps can help add years to your life:

  1. Don’t smoke
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Engage in regular physical activity
  4. Eat a healthy diet
  5. Manage blood pressure
  6. Take charge of cholesterol
  7. Keep blood sugar, or glucose, at healthy levels.

Heart Healthy Nutrition

Do you know how to eat a diet that’s good for your cardiac health? Here are some guidelines for preventing heart disease.

As part of a healthy diet, an adult consuming 2,000 calories daily should aim for:

  • Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 cups a day
  • Fish (preferably oily fish): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce-equivalent servings a day
  • Sodium: Less than 1,500 mg a day
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: No more than 450 calories (36 ounces) a week
  • Nuts, legumes and seeds: At least 4 servings a week
  • Processed meats: No more than 2 servings a week
  • Saturated fat: Less than 7% of total energy intake

Research at Yale University

Yale has a long history of excellence in cardiac care and research. In 1949, Yale doctors developed the first artificial heart pump in the United States. Today, Yale continues to pioneer new heart treatments that have the potential to help millions of patients. If you have heart disease, February is a good time to see your doctor and find out if you’re eligible for a clinical trial.

To find out more about heart disease studies at Yale, visit www.yalestudies.org or call 1-877-978-8343. For more information on cardiovascular health, visit the American Heart Association.