10 Ways To Take Care Of Your Heart

10 Ways To Take Care Of Your Heart

February is here and it's time to discuss its most important themes: black history and heart disease.

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February is both Black History Month and American Heart Month. Both are incredibly important, especially to me. It's so important for everyone, especially African Americans, to take care of their heart.

According to statistics, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, with one in four deaths being caused by heart disease. In the black community, the rates are much higher, causing 48% of women and 44% of men to die from heart disease. High blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes are all leading risk factors to heart disease.

These are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your chances of suffering from heart disease.

1. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!

2. Know your numbers.

Check in with your doctor to see about your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. If something seems a little high or a little low, don't freak out! Just make sure to ask the questions in order to get them to normal. On the other hand, if something seems high or low, don't ignore it, address it!

3. Watch what you eat.

Talk is very cheap people! We (meaning I) must do better about actually changing our diet and not just talking about it.

4. Take your meds.

5. Lower your stress.

6. Quit smoking.

I mean really, why is this even still a thing?

7. Cut back on the salt.

Yes, that means less processed food and restaurants, I know.

8. Know your family history.

Ask your parents and grandparents what your family health history is like. You never know what could be genetically a threat to your life!

9. Find a primary doctor.

I am guilty when it comes to not wanting to go to the doctor. I am not a fan of any doctors, but that doesn't mean I don't need to do better. Find a primary doctor, but make sure it is somebody you like! The experience is always much better when you actually enjoy your visits.

10. Spread the word. 

Teach your family members, especially your kids, how to take care of themselves and lower their chances as well. A healthy family is a happy family!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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7 Of The Most Influential Women In History Who Left Their Stamp On The World

In honor of International Women's History Month, here are seven of the most influential women in history who left their stamp on the world in today's society.

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These are the women who made put the foundation to make our present and future possible. Even today, they still continue to inspire other young men and women. In honor of international women's history month which lasts from March 1st through the 31st, here are seven of the most influential women in history.

1. Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is a well known African American female who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. As a result of her actions, she was arrested which led to a nationwide campaign boycotting city buses in Montgomery.

Her brave actions played a very important role during the civil rights movement that eventually led to the end of bus segregation. Rosa Parks was given the nicknames "The First Lady Of Civil Rights" and "The Mother Of Freedom Movement".

2. Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a former slave and abolitionist who escaped from her plantation to lead other slaves to freedom using the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses that led to the northern states. She dedicated her whole entire life to helping others slaves escape who wanted freedom too. Harriet Tubman also led a secret life as a former spy during the war helping the Union Army.

3. Madame C.J Walker

Madame C.J. Walker whose real name was Sarah Breedlove, an African American, who became a self-made millionaire and entrepreneur. In fact, she was considered the wealthiest African American businesswoman in 1919.

She created her own wealth by developing and selling her hair care products. Madame C.J. Walker stumbled upon her wealth when she tried to find a product that would help with her scalp disorder which made her lose the majority of hair.

This is when she began to experiment with home remedies and store bought hair treatments which inspired her to help others with their hair loss after she saw significant improvement in her hair. She also was a very generous person who helped her community by giving to those less fortunate.

4. Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was an American activist and writer alongside her husband, the world famous, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who fought for civil rights through peaceful protest. She supported nonviolence and women's rights movements.

After her husband's assassination, Mrs. King assembled and established an organization called "The King Center" in memory of her husband who believed in non-violent social change. She also led the petition to have her husband's birthday become a federal holiday which was eventually successful.

5. Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony, a Caucasian female, was a suffragist and civil rights activist. She campaigned against slavery and fought for women to be given the right to vote.

Her role definitely played a vital part in providing for the preparations for laws in the future for women rights. She worked with Elizabeth Cady Stanton to create the America Equal Rights Association (AERA) in 1866.

6. Daisy Bates

Daisy Bates was an African American activist and in 1952, she became the president of the NAACP in Arkansas. As a mentor who played a key role in helping to integrate the school system in Arkansas, she wanted to end segregation and helped do that with the introduction of the Little Rock Nine.

The Little Rock Nine was nine African American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Centeral High School, but the governor of Arkansas refused their admittance. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled segregation in schools were unconstitutional; however, African American students were still being denied in all white high schools.

In 1957, history was made when Daisy Bates helped nine African American students known as the Little Rock Nine to become the first African Amercians to attend an all white high school.

7. Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was a former slave in Mississippi, African American journalist, and a leader in the civil rights movement in its earlier years. Ida was born in 1862 to parents James and Elizabeth Wells.

In 1892, she began an anti lynching campaign after three African American men were abducted by a mob and then subsqequently murdered. She was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also known as NAACP.

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