Health & Safety

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African Caribbean Adults Health Warning

2 February 2013

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has published a report confirming that African Caribbean adults in the UK are more likely to develop serious health problems than the general UK population.

African Caribbean food

One in four African Caribbean adults are unaware they are at higher risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.

BHF Study Findings

According to figures published by the British Heart Foundation in a recent study. African Caribbean adults are most vulnerable and the latest studies reveal worrying statistics showing that African Caribbean adults in the UK are:

  • Twice as likely to have a stroke and heart disease as people of European origin,
  • Twice as many are likely to develop diabetes than the general UK population,
  • The group at the highest risk of high blood pressure for ethnic minorities.

Worryingly, the British Heart Foundation study found that:

  • Around one in four African Caribbean adults in the UK are unaware and don't realise they're at higher risk at all and don't realise their ethnicity increases their risk of high blood pressure and diabetes - major risk factors for stroke,
  • More than half of African Caribbean adults (51%) don't know the recommended ideal level for blood pressure,
  • Less than half of those surveyed (46%) know the recommended maximum daily allowance for salt is one teaspoon.
  • Only 36% know the recommended amount of physical activity they need a week to stay healthy is 150 minutes or 2.5 hours of moderate intensity activity (exercise).
  • Less than half of those surveyed (46%) know the recommended maximum daily allowance for salt is one teaspoon (6g)
  • Just 14% know the recommended maximum waist circumference is less than 37 inches for men and 31.5 inches for women.

Genetic and Dietary Connections

High Blood Pressure and diabetes are much more prevalent in this community and they are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. In fact someone who is African-Caribbean has over double the risk of diabetes than someone who is originally from the UK. That's why it's absolutely vital that the African-Caribbean community recognise that and try to take action to protect themselves.

The British Heart Foundation say they think there's a genetic element why the African-Caribbean population are at higher risk - but the key things are that this group of people are more likely to have high blood pressure and are much more likely to have diabetes, and these are key risk factors for stroke and heart disease.

The traditional Caribbean diet can contain high amounts of salt and saturated fats. Salt is a major factor. Dishes high in salt content are a potential health risks. However it's not just salt intake, it's about a better lifestyle as well.

Get A Check-Up

A simple check up by a doctor or nurse at the GP surgery can determine whether a person is suffering from high blood pressure and if necessary a test for diabetes can be arranged. From there medication along with changes to diet and lifestyle can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke dramatically. For those 40 or over, they can get their health checked at their local GP surgery by either a nurse or GP. Contact the GP surgery for more information.

Early diagnosis of high blood pressure is important. Then with careful management and changes to lifestyle, keeping to a healthy weight and body shape, a diet rethink, reduced salt intake, quit smoking, moderate drinking alcohol, blood pressure medication if required - there's no reason why those concerned can't then lead an active and healthy life.