While more people have suffered a heart event in the past year in connection with the pandemic, African Americans are already at a higher risk of heart disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Health Insider Dr. Shad Marvasti attributes the increase to higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol, reduced access to quality health care, and chronic stress from systemic racism that leads to chronic inflammation. .
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He says that for many minorities, your postcode may put you at greater risk than your genetic code. Studies have shown that driving 15 to 20 miles from Scottsdale south of Phoenix will reduce your life expectancy by 15 years due to these risk factors.
Dr. Shad says some of the keys to closing the gap are eliminating food deserts with better access to fresh, healthy food for low-income areas. He also says we need to strengthen health education and teach children the value of fresh food early. It also suggests increasing safe recreational facilities in low-income areas to promote healthy physical activity to improve heart health.
What should you do for someone who has a heart attack?
For anyone who might see someone having a heart attack, your first move is to call 911.
While you wait for help, Dr. Shad says you should lay the patient down so their heart doesn’t have to work as hard. If you can find aspirin, have them chew a pill — it could save lives, he says.
Finally, find out if they are on any blood pressure medication and ask them to take any doses they may have missed.
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