Taking Action for Our Health

Heart health: Learn

As you may know, heart disease is a serious health problem for all Americans, especially Latinos. In fact, it is the second leading cause of death among Latinos. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • Poverty
  • Limited education
  • Low health
  • Not enough fruits and vegetables in one's diet
  • Limited access to healthcare

Some people believe that a heart attack or stroke happens when a person is suddenly scared, upset, or angered. But while a heart attack or stroke may seem sudden, the truth is they happen when the person has heart disease that builds up over many years and often starts at a young age.

Heart disease has many risk factors:

  • High Blood Pressure (hypertension): High blood pressure makes the heart pump blood harder, causing the arteries to thicken and become stiffer.
  • Tobacco Smoke: Smokers' risk of getting disease in the heart’s arteries is 2-4 times that of nonsmokers.
  • High Cholesterol: As LDL (‘bad cholesterol’) rises, so does the risk of coronary heart disease in the heart’s arteries.
  • Physical Inactivity: Being inactive is a risk factor for disease in the heart’s arteries.
  • Obesity and Overweight: People who have excess body fat — especially at the waist — are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes increases your risk of getting heart disease.

But high blood pressure is one of the biggest things that can put you at risk. When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because it has no symptoms.

Getting your blood pressure measured is a good way to start caring for your heart health. It’s quick, easy, and painless. It will tell you if you’re at risk for heart disease. It will tell you if you need to take steps to control your blood pressure so there is less chance of a heart attack, stroke, or worse.

Don’t wait to become sick. Early detection is the best way to avoid health problems and stay healthy. Whether you do it for yourself or for the ones you love, get screened. You’re worth it. Now, you’re ready to ACT.


Your mental health also affects your heart health. When you’ve finished the Heart Health section, be sure to complete the Emotional Health section.