Latinas Heart Health

The following is an article from vistamagazine.com, an impreMedia property.  The article should be important to all of us who have daughters, sisters, and mothers. The article was written by Millie Acebal Rousseau, Infographic CTRL-DESIGN

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THE PROBLEM: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Hispanic women, and only 1 in 3 of them know that. “You have to know your numbers, and be careful with weight,” says Luz Prieto-Sanchez, M.D. endocrinologist and Go Red Por Tu Corazón spokesperson.

The numbers are startling. Hispanic women are more likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanic white women. Mexican-American women have a higher rate of diabetes and obesity, which put them at greater risk for cardiovascular disease than white women. Plus, language barriers make Hispanics twice as likely to not ask their doctors questions, or leave the office with questions unanswered.

The prevalence of high blood pressure, or hypertension caused by poor eating habits, inactivity, obesity and heredity among Mexican women over 20 years old is 28.7 percent.

Women who speak Spanish predominantly have the highest prevalence of physical inactivity. Nearly 60 percent of Latinas are physically inactive, reports The National Institute of Health. “Inactivity is killing the Hispanic population,” says Dr. Prieto-Sanchez. “Do 20 to 30 minutes of any exercise–walking, dancing, jogging–daily, or at least five days a week.”

HOW TO LOWER YOUR RISK:
Eat healthy. “Avoid processed foods, and have natural foods instead–vegetables, greens, fruits and other fresh food,” she says. Also, exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy weight, which is another key to keeping risks low.

Keep your numbers in check. Monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and know your BMI, or Body Mass Index. This index uses your height and weight to calculate your degree of body fat. Your BMI should be less than 23. Blood pressure should be lower than 120/80. You need to keep track of two Cholesterol numbers your HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) In women, HDL should be greater than 45, and LDL should be less than 130. Your total number for both should be lower than 200.

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Visit vistamagazine.com to find out which organization has initiatives set up to helping Latinas prevent this disease.

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