Know Your Risk Factors to Improve African American Heart HealthGulf Coast Healthy Living Magazine Volume 7, Issue 1 - Baptist Health Care - Heart
Cardiologists Pelbreton Balfour, M.D., and Walter Beard, M.D., with Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute and Cardiology Consultants are reaching out to the Northwest Florida community, educating and emphasizing heart health and identifying risk factors for African Americans to help change these statistics on a local level.
“The odds for heart disease are against us in the African American community,” said Dr. Balfour, board-certified cardiologist. “We need to know our risk factors to be more preventative.”
Dr. Beard, a board-certified cardiologist, presented a case study on blood pressure at a recent heart health and disease prevention community outreach seminar in Pensacola.
Dr. Beard shared the diagnostic criteria for diagnosing hypertension and its stages. He also emphasized the role excessive dietary sodium (salt) plays in the development of hypertension in African Americans, stating that too much of it can lead to the development of hypertension and subsequently increase the risk of conditions such as stroke and heart attack.
“As African Americans, we are twice as likely to have a stroke,” said Dr. Beard. “Much of that can be linked to our genetics and high sodium diet.”
Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute and Cardiology Consultants offer tests that can be performed after a referral from a primary care physician. Screenings such as a CT scan which looks at a patient’s arteries or coronary calcium score indicates the likelihood of calcified plaque build-up that may be of concern.