Many of us have heard that a couple of days ago, director John Singleton passed away. He had traveled to Costa Rica, and upon returning, felt pain in his leg. Soon thereafter, he had a stroke, which led to a coma. Unfortunately, the family took him off life support on Monday.
John Singleton directed numerous classic movies, depicting black culture in a way that had not been seen before on the big screen.
According to his family, “Singleton quietly struggled with hypertension. More than 40% of African American men and women have high blood pressure, which also develops earlier in life and is usually more severe. His family wants to share the message with all to please recognize the symptoms by going to Heart.org.”
I say this as genuinely as possible… please take care of yourself and your health and don’t wait until something happens before you make your health a priority.
Hypertension is called the silent killer because it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, often without any signs or symptoms.
Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in America, which is what ultimately led to John Singleton’s death.
Most times, there are no signs are symptoms of high blood pressure, but you may sometimes have headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds. Symptoms don’t normally occur until it becomes life-threatening.
This is why it’s important to regularly check your blood pressure. You can have it checked at your annual doctor’s exam or check it at a neighborhood pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens.
Many people avoid going to the doctor until something is wrong instead of going annually more for preventative care. Going to an annual appointment helps to pinpoint potential issues before they become a bigger problem.
So, I say this firmly…. GO TO THE DOCTOR. Your annual exam is covered thru your insurance, and it is a necessity to go yearly to track your health over time.
Some of the risk factors for high blood pressure include:
*Age- higher risk as we age
*Race- African-Americans are at higher risk
*Overweight or obese
*Low Activity Level
*Eating too much sodium
*Eating too little potassium
*Heavy alcohol drinking
*Certain chronic conditions
If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, stroke, aneurysm, kidney malfunction, vision loss, reduced cognitive function, and dementia, among others.
It’s important to reduce your risk factors and to adopt healthy behaviors to help prevent this condition. These behaviors include increasing fruit and vegetable intake, maintaining a healthy weight, increasing physical activity, decreasing sodium intake, limiting alcohol, and managing stress.
High blood pressure. Mayo Clinic website. May 12, 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373417