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Latino Elders: Heart Health — An urgent fact of life for elders

By Judi Bonilla
Latino Elders

When it comes to heart health, the facts are shocking:

  • Heart disease and stroke are the #1 Killers of Latinos.
  • Among Mexican-American adults, 31.6% of men and 34.4% of women have cardiovascular disease.
  • Only 27% of Hispanics knew the leading cause of death among women in the United States was heart disease.

It’s time to educate ourselves and take action to change the statistics. The American Heart Association report Hispanics and Latinos, face even higher risks of heart disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Understanding Heart Disease

There are several types of heart disease, the most common found in elderly Latinos is coronary artery disease. This occurs when the coronary arteries began to narrow and are eventually blocked resulting in a heart attack.

Tips Preventing Heart Disease

Preventing coronary artery disease is todo familiar. Perhaps the greatest gift los abuelos can give their grandchildren is to become cultural role models in healthier habits.

Research shows developing healthier habits at a younger age gives children lifelong skills that may stave off heart disease. Research also shows that making healthier lifestyle choices at any age reaps benefits.

Together la familia can support each other by:

Making healthy food choices – Choose and prepare a simple meal together. Make Meatless Monday a fixture in your home.
Staying physically active – Schedule an after school or post dinner stroll. Plan a weekly family walk to a local landmark.
Learning how to manage stress – Begin a ritual familiar. Make evenings a time start a practice quite time or mindful breathing practice.

Tips for Living with Heart Disease

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with a chronic heart condition now is the time for action and begin making small lifestyle changes. Consult your healthcare provider for local programs and support groups. Contact your community center for wellness programs. Find a local Better Choices, Better Health, a self-management program that has small group meetings or is accessible online.

For more information on Heart Disease Risks for Latinos: American Heart Association, Boston Scientific’s Close the Gap, an awareness campaign designed to promote the risk factors for heart disease.

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