OW Staff | 2/20/2008, 5 p.m.
"What's good for your heart is good for your brain" is the message of a new public awareness program for African-Americans from the American Heart Association and Alzheimer's Association. The public awareness program kicks off in February, both American Heart Month and Black History Month, and will run through May, American Stroke Month.
The program encourages individuals to take steps now to manage their heart and brain health. More information and a pedometer are found in a free Healthy Heart and Brain Kit for African-Americans, available while supplies last at www.alz.org/heartbrain.
Studies show African-Americans, compared to Caucasian Americans, are at greater risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol - all factors for stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
Every healthy heartbeat pumps about one-fifth of your blood to your brain, carrying the food and oxygen the brain needs to think, solve problems and remember. Conditions that damage the heart and its blood vessels may also damage the brain and its blood vessels.
A recent survey found that African-Americans expressed concern about their heart health (61 percent) and brain health (40 percent), yet only about 1 out of 20 (6 percent) were aware of the close connection between cardiovascular (heart) and dementia (brain) diseases. The survey was commissioned by the American Heart Association and the Alzheimer's Association.
For more information on the public awareness program, visit www.alz.org/heartbrain, or call the American Stroke Association at 1.888.478.7653 or the Alzheimer's Association at 1.800.272.3900.