Your heart health risks
Everyone should be aware of the risk factors
for heart disease. While diet, exercise and giving up smoking are
part of the story, you also need to watch out for diabetes, blood
pressure and high cholesterol.
African Caribbean people are especially at risk of diabetes
and high blood pressure, so it's important for you and your
family to go for regular checkups with your doctor.
Prevent and manage diabetes
common in African Caribbean communities in the UK than the general
population, Type 2 diabetes can
significantly increase your risk of getting heart disease.
However, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting diabetes by
eating healthily, staying a healthy weight and body shape and doing
regular physical activity.
If you do have diabetes, it’s very important
to make sure your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol are
Look out for your blood pressure
People from African Caribbean communities have the highest risk
of developing high blood pressure in
comparison to other ethnic groups in the UK.
pressure is just one of the risk factors for heart disease or
having a stroke, along with high
other lifestyle factors. As high blood pressure rarely has any
symptoms to warn you, it is important that you know what causes it
and that you know what yours is. It is thought that there are lots
of people in the UK walking around, with high blood pressure but
they don't know about it.
only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have it
We recommend that everyone over 40 gets
their blood pressure taken by a nurse or doctor as part of a risk
assessment for heart and circulatory disease.
If your doctor or nurse says you have high blood
pressure, he/she is likely to encourage you to make some lifestyle changes such as cutting back on
alcohol, stopping smoking and keeping a healthy diet and increasing
help reduce it like we have mentioned above.
Be aware of strokes
People of African Caribbean origin are
twice as likely to have a stroke in comparison to the general UK
Your brain gets the oxygen and nutrients it needs from the blood
pumped by the heart through the arteries in your neck.
A stroke happens when the artery carrying blood to your
brain is blocked (known as an ischaemic stroke), or an artery
bleeds into your brain (an haemorrhagic stroke).
Strokes affect the way your body and brain works. They can
affect your speech, ability to swallow and how you move.
There are simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the
risk of having a stroke.
you suspect that someone is having a stroke, act
helps people recognise the
signs of a stroke and take immediate action. You can find more
information on FAST from the NHS website
- Facial weakness - can they smile? Has their
mouth or eye drooped?
- Arm weakness - can they raise both arms?
- Speech problems - can they speak clearly and
understand what you are saying?
- Time to call 999
For more information on stroke and its symptoms visit the
Stroke Association website
or call 08450 303 3100.
This information does not replace the advice that your
doctor or nurse may give you, but we hope it will provide you with
additional information and support.