African American Heart Health Is Vital

Body weight is directly related to diet and physical exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is a factor in sustaining a healthy heart. This is a somewhat controversial because as recent studies have shown that weight is not as important to heart health as diet and exercise. That is to say that whether your weight is low or high, you should still be working to have a healthy diet and stay active. If you do desire to weight loss, talk with your doctor about long-term plan.

We all should strive to have quality sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble falling asleep: try setting a regular bedtime; avoiding long naps during the day; getting rid of the TV in your bedroom; leaving your cell phone on the other side of your bedroom; reading a physical book or journaling while trying to fall asleep; and, get out of the bed until you are more sleepy.

Lastly, we emphasize the critical importance of managing stress to prevent heart attacks and heart disease. Stress may cause heart attacks and death even in people with normal cholesterol and coronary arteries. It is very important to reduce stress in your life. Work to not over commit yourself to family, friends, work and tasks. Self-care is key and learning how to say “no” is part of self-care.

Work on your mindset and how you view your world and stressful situations. Learn how to let go of things that are out of your control. Utilize mindfulness, journaling, talk therapy, meditation, yoga, exercise to help clarify what is important to you and filter out the things that may be causing your goals and vision to be clouded.

All of the above advice and recommendations will help you to focus on keeping your heart healthy and strong. Again for African Americans the health of our hearts will determine the health of our families and communities. Our heart heath is vital.

Dr. Anisa Shomo is the Director of Family Medicine Scholars at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a health columnist for the NNPA. She can be reached at