Dr. CONRAD SMITH, DIRECTOR OF THE CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION LABORATORIES AT UPMC PRESBYTERIAN. (PHOTO BY J.L. MARTELLO)
Have you heard of “Life’s Essential 8?”
If you haven’t, they are: Proper blood sugar level, proper cholesterol level, proper blood pressure level, exercising, eating the right things, not smoking, getting enough sleep, and having an ideal body weight.
Conrad Smith, a physician and director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, in Oakland, stressed in an intimate setting with African Americans at the Thelma Lovette YMCA in the Hill District, that those “essential 8” things will greatly reduce one’s likelihood of a cardiovascular event.
And as everyone knows, the heart is nothing to play with.
“Heart health affects everybody, (but as it pertains to the Black population), we know that they are more susceptible to things such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes,” said Roland Castro-Boulware, director of community impact for American Heart Association Pittsburgh.
Roland Castro-Boulware, director of community impact for American Heart Association Pittsburgh. (Photos by J.L. Martello)
DR. AMBER JOHNSON
He told the New Pittsburgh Courier during the July 24 event that there are barriers many African Americans face when it comes to finding healthy food choices in their neighborhoods, or even safe places for them to engage in physical activity. The local AMA partnering with UPMC, he said, was a way to get valuable information pertaining to heart health into the Black community by bringing pharmacists and physicians to a central area in the Hill District for an important, informational discussion.
Dr. Smith said Blacks are more likely to die from a cardiovascular event than their White counterparts, which is why he stressed the importance for African Americans to visit their doctor regularly and keep up with their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
But what about those habits that you just can’t seem to break? Or what about the people who try exercising once or twice, but can’t seem to make it routine? Dr. Smith told the Courier he wished it was easy to break habits or start new, positive ones.
“Engage the people around you,” Dr. Smith said. “If you can do something with a buddy or loved one (such as exercise),” he said it can become a daily routine that won’t seem so mundane.
Dr. Smith also said it was important for people to eat “lots of fruits and vegetables,” and to cut out the smoking and vaping.