Splashing a little bit of water on her face didn’t calm Shermane Winters-Wofford’s first date jitters. And then what she perceived as nervousness escalated into sweating and tightness in her chest.
Although she didn’t experience the typical warning signs, Shermane was having a stroke.
A stroke? How could it be? After all, she thought of herself as perfectly healthy. But it turns out Shermane had been at risk all along. Like many other African American women, ...view middle of the document...
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in women, and stroke disproportionately affects African Americans. Importantly, African American women are less likely than Caucasian women to be aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death.
Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity and a family history of heart disease are all greatly prevalent among African Americans and are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. What’s more, African American women have almost two times the risk of stroke than Caucasians, and more likely to die at an earlier age when compared to women of other ethnicities.
Here are a few unsettling stats:
Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African American women annually.
Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart diseases.
Only 1 in 5 African American women believes she is personally at risk.
Only 52 percent of African American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
Only 36 percent of African American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.