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Heart Disease, Still a Major Cause of Death for Minority Males

Did you know that heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men in the United States? To make matters worse, heart disease disproportionately impacts African-American and Hispanic males at a higher rate than white men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 6% of Hispanic men and 7.1% of African-American men have coronary heart disease (CDC 2021). Furthermore, almost half of the men who died suddenly from heart disease did not exhibit any warning signs or previous heart-related symptoms.

The American Heart Association reports heart disease kills more than 100,000 African-Americans each year (AHA 2020). Unfortunately, the AHA also reports most people are unaware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack (AHA 2020). Recognizing the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke can save your life or someone else’s. So, let’s get familiar with the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack and stroke.

Warning signs of a heart attack:

  • A feeling of uncomfortable pressure in the center of your chest

  • Squeezing-like sensations in the center of your chest (this feeling can last for a few minutes, go away, and come back)

  • Pain or numbness in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach

  • Sudden or frequent shortness of breath (with or without chest discomfort)

  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness

  • Feeling extreme fatigue like you want to take a nap

  • Shortness of breath, sudden or unexplained jaw pain, nausea, and vomiting, which may feel like indigestion