By Jamie Shuster
Richland County was chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation to serve as one of two pilot counties for the Million Hearts “Healthy is Strong” initiative. Million Hearts is a national initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The initiative targets African-American men ages 40-65 in Richland County, as well as Clayton County, Georgia. We’re excited to have been selected as one of two counties nationwide for this initiative.
African-Americans face higher risks than Caucasians of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. African-Americans also suffer more stroke deaths, which is the third leading cause of death in South Carolina, resulting in 729 deaths in 2013. These higher illness rates result in ten years of lost life for African-Americans in our state.
Heart attacks and stroke are largely avoidable by managing medical conditions and making lifestyle changes. This initiative reinforces strong men to put their health first. Simple changes such as taking medication as prescribed, healthy eating, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking can make a big difference in improving health. Talk to a health care professional about the “ABCS” of heart health:
- Aspirin use when appropriate
- Blood pressure control
- Cholesterol management
- Smoking cessation
The focus of Million Hearts aligns with the dedicated work and commitment of DHEC’s Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention.
For more information about this initiative, please visit the Million Hearts website.