By William A. Cooper, MD
You may know this already: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. For the African-American community, heart disease takes an even greater toll, more so than any other racial and ethnic group.
Did you know that while the mortality rate for white Americans has declined by 20 percent in recent years, the decrease has been only 13 percent for African Americans? In addition, African Americans have a 40 percent higher chance of dying from coronary artery disease than whites.
You may know this too: the major risk factors contributing to cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, excessive body weight and physical inactivity.
Some people have already accepted that heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are just a way of life in the African-American community. Perhaps your parents had high blood pressure and died young. Or everyone in the family has diabetes. Maybe mom