Number One Latino Killer-Heart Disease
Mexican Americans most at risk, cardiovascular disease and risk factors.
The number one killer of Hispanic/Latino Americans is heart disease according to the American Heart Associations Heart Facts 2007. Diseases of the heart and stroke combined caused some 28% of all deaths for Latinos. This outranked cancer and other causes. What is more alarming is the prevalence of cardiovascular disease among Mexican American adults. 31% of Mexican American men and 34% of women already have cardiovascular disease according to the same 2007 statistics.
New Jersey and Delaware are both below the national death rates (348 per 100,000) for heart disease and stroke. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) 1996-2000 figures puts the New Jersey rate at 257, and Delaware is 308. Pennsylvania is above the national rate at 358 per 100,000 deaths.
Mexican Americans have the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome. According to the American Heart Association metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. Mexican American men are more likely to have high blood cholesterol than all other non-Hispanic Americans. For those in high risk categories for heart disease, high cholesterol is an issue.
Cardiovascular Disease what is it?
As outlined by the Mayo Clinic, cardiovascular disease or heart diseases are broad terms to describe the variety of diseases or conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. One of the most prevalent conditions is commonly called hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). This is caused by an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking, all of which are somewhat reversible and preventable. This hardening of the arteries leads to Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and other diseases of the heart. Coronary Artery Disease is the leading cause of heart attacks. It is a life long condition and will get worse unless lifestyle changes are made.
Among other diseases of the heart there is Cardiomyopathy which is a disease of the heart muscle. Congenital heart disease develops before birth. Aneurysm is a weakness in a blood vessel or artery which can rupture, and cause life threatening bleeding. There are diseases that affect the heart valves and the sac that encases the heart, and the well known heart failure and heart attack all come under the umbrella of cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases.
Preventable Risk Factors
Factors that put a person at high risk for heart disease according to a feature article in the National Geographic in February 2007 are;
Abdominal obesity more than doubles the risk
Diabetes quadruples the risk for women and doubles it for men
High blood pressure (Hypertension) nearly triples the risk for men and doubles it for women
Stress and Depression almost triple the risk
Physical inactivity increases the risk by about 20%
Smoking can double even triple the risk
Healthy diet decreases the risk by about 30%
8 Tonnes of blood
The heart pumps 8 tonnes of blood every 24 hours. It pumps 100,000 a day. It pumps 2.5 billions times in an average lifetime-you can't live without it. This was illustrated in a segment on the BBC News about heart disease. Time is muscle as outlined in an article in the New York Times in April 2007.When a person is having a heart attack the first hour is called the golden hour. The reason it is called that is because if the patient doesn't get to the hospital within that time there could be irreparable damage to the heart muscle or worse, death.
In addition to that it is equally important to get to a hospital that is a level one trauma center meaning that is it fully equipped to handle the most severe of cases. Level one trauma centers are required to have on duty a certain number of surgeons and anesthesiologists 24 hours a day among other specialties. It pays for you and your family to know which hospital you would go to in the event of an emergency.
The disparity of Hispanics plagued by obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, serves to propel the community towards cardio vascular disease with alarming rapidity. A number of the risk factors are reducible and could even be eliminated. Most of us find it difficult realize that this could happen to us, it is always someone else. If we are at risk, accept the dangerous situation we are in, and let's do something about it.