4 New Year’s Resolutions Black Women Can Make to Improve
Special to The Truth
High blood pressure -- the
leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke -- continues
to disproportionately affect communities of color.
Addressing this health inequity is especially important
right now, as people with hypertension and serious heart
conditions are at an increased risk for more severe outcomes
if they acquire COVID-19.
According to the American
Heart Association, the prevalence of high blood pressure
among Black adults in the U.S. is among the highest in the
world, with the prevalence of high blood pressure in Black
women nearly 40 percent higher than white women in the U.S.
While many long-standing
inequities and stressors produced by structural racism have
created and continue to exacerbate these conditions, there
are steps individuals can take to help improve their blood
pressure right now. The New Year is a great opportunity to
prioritize self-care and get started.
This is why the American
Medical Association (AMA), the AMA Foundation, Association
of Black Cardiologists, American Heart Association, Minority
Health Institute and National Medical Association have
launched the “Release the Pressure” campaign with ESSENCE.
The campaign is aimed at partnering with Black women to help
improve their heart health and be part of a movement for
healthy blood pressure, with a shared goal of engaging more
than 300,000 Black women.
As part of the campaign,
the AMA and this coalition of national health care
organizations encourages Black women to take a pledge to be
part of a healthy blood pressure movement at
ReleaseThePressure.org. Specifically, the pledge encourages
Black women to take the following four steps:
1. Set a blood pressure
goal: Schedule an appointment with your physician or other
health care professional, in-person or virtually, to work in
partnership on understanding your blood pressure numbers and
knowing your goal for optimal blood pressure.
2. Monitor blood pressure
numbers at home: Once you learn your blood pressure numbers,
take and keep regular records of your blood pressure.
3. Activate a personalized
wellness plan: Identify specific goals for fitness and heart
healthy eating and connect virtually with family members and
friends from your “squad” to keep you on track.
4. Make regular check-ins
with your “squad”: Lean on your family and friends to help
you achieve your heart health goals by checking in with them
on a daily basis.
“Preventive care is vital
to breaking the devastating impact of high blood pressure
within the Black community, particularly during the ongoing
COVID-19 pandemic,” says Patrice A. Harris, M.D., MA,
president of the AMA. “At the individual and family level,
it starts with understanding blood pressure numbers and
taking action to manage blood pressure.”