Americans Have Special Reasons To Take National High Blood Pressure
Awareness Month To Heart, Says Emory Cardiothoracic Surgeon William
"African Americans are at increased risk for hypertension. In fact, thirty five
percent of people in the black community suffer from high blood pressure.
Even more alarming is the fact hypertension accounts for twenty percent
of deaths among African Americans each year about twice the figure
for Caucasians. We tend to develop cardiovascular disease and renal
disease as a result of having hypertension far more often than our white
counterparts," says Dr. Cooper, who treats heart patients in the Carlyle
Fraser Heart Center at Emory Crawford Long Hospital.
The good news, however, is that African Americans have a strong weapon
they can use to fight and win against hypertension. The key, says Dr.
Cooper, is education. "You need to find out if you have elevated blood
pressure and, if you do, work to get it down. If you have normal blood
pressure, you need to be aware of what you can do to make sure it stays
at a healthy level," he explains.
Dr. Cooper encourages African Americans to develop a proactive, positive
attitude about their health. "We need to stop thinking that high blood
pressure is just part of life in the African American community. In
fact, factors that contribute to high blood pressure, including excessive
body weight, and physical inactivity, are problems in virtually all
American communities. They are often more so in the African American
community, however, in part because of the large number of African Americans
who live in lower socioeconomic settings," says Dr. Cooper, Assistant
Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Emory. " But these are things
we can control and change by becoming educated about hypertension and
making healthy lifestyle choices -- like being more active, eating less
salty food and more fruits and vegetables, and keeping weight under
Dr. Cooper advises having your blood pressure checked once a year
more often if you have high blood pressure. " It is easy, quick, and
painless. You can have it checked at your physicianÕs office, your neighborhood
clinic, or at health fairs at your church or local mall," he says. "If
you find out your blood pressure is high, donÕt panic. What you should
be afraid of is not knowing your blood pressure. If you learn
have hypertension, use that information as an opportunity to take control
of your health and work with your doctor to reduce your hypertension.
Remember that knowledge is power."
Since 1975 Emory Crawford Long Carlyle Fraser Heart Center has been
recognized internationally for its work in the diagnosis treatment and
prevention of heart and lung disease. The Carlyle Fraser Heart Center
is part of the Emory Heart Center ranked in the top ten AmericaÕs Best
Hospitals by US News & World Report. Emory Hospitals include Emory University
Hospital, a 587-bed hospital located on the Emory University campus
in northeast Atlanta, Crawford Long Hospital, Emory's 583-bed, community-based
hospital in midtown and Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, a 100-bed hospital
located on the Emory campus. Emory Hospitals are components of EMORY
HEALTHCARE, the most comprehensive health care system in Atlanta. Other
components of EMORY HEALTHCARE are: The Emory Clinic, the Emory Children's
Center, the jointly owned Emory-Adventist Hospital, and EHCA, LLC, a
limited liability company created in collaboration with HCA Healthcare.