Lifestyle Modification: How it
Effects African Americans and
Reduces the Risk Associated with
Congestive Heart Failure
By: Donnell Carson
Advisor: Professor Fahringer
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), also called
heart failure, is a life-threatening condition in
which the heart can no longer pump enough
blood to the rest of the body
Heart failure is almost always a chronic, long-
term condition, although it can sometimes
This condition may affect the right side, the left
side, or both sides of the heart
You are also at increased risk for developing
heart failure if you are overweight, have diabetes,
smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol, or use cocaine
Signs and Symptoms
shortness of air (with cough
activity, or after lying
down for a while
Who this Affects?
According to the National Institutes of Health,
about 5 million Americans have heart failure
African Americans (AA) seem to have more
cases of CHF, than whites (3% vs. 2 %)
How CHF affects African-Americans
The onset occurs at an earlier age, compared with other
populations and is more commonly associated with a
history of hypertension than with epicardial coronary
severe hypertension is 3 to 7 times more prevalent in
African Americans than in whites, and left ventricular
hypertrophy as well as other target organ damage is
enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Beta blockers (BB) Digitalis Preparations
Diuretics (Water Pills) Angiotensin II Receptor
Diet Tobacco Use
Obesity is increasingly recognized as a public health
epidemic and modifiable risk factor for coronary heart
In minority communities several important dietary
alterations that include increases in sodium
consumption, reduced potassium consumption, and
decreased calcium intake, and higher intake of dietary
sodium is linked to the incidence of hypertension
Given that nearly 60% of all heart failure among
African Americans may be due to hypertensive
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop
Hypertension) diet, which is rich in fruits,
vegetables, and low fat diary products, and is
reduced, in total and saturated fat
In the “Premiere” study (Svetkey et al, 2005), which
included 810 randomized individuals with an average
age of 50 years, of whom 62% were women, 34% were
African American, 95% were overweight or obese, and
38% were hypertensive. Among the African American
participants, 26% were women and 9% were men.
African American women lost an average of 7 pounds
over 6 months, and African American men lost an
average of 10 pounds over 6 months
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
recommend 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise
(brisk walking), most days of the week to reduce
risk factors associated with cardiovascular
Improved blood pressure Increased caloric
Decreased serum Decreased weight
Regular physical activity is associated with the
prevention and control of virtually every known
modifiable risk factor for CHF
A role for exercise is clear in the primary
prevention of CHF
Physical Activity Studies
In a study involving 18 African American
women, in a rural setting (Goodwin, 2007)
Three themes came from this study: Exercise is
work, Exercise make you feel good, and
Exercise will help you lose weight/look better
Recent evidence suggests that environmental factors
may play an important role in shaping health behaviors,
such as increasing physical activity
African American and Native American women
reported that weather (heat), lack of safety, and not
having a walking partner as common environmental
constraints to walking (Duncan et al, 2003)
Lighten Up a novel, church-based lifestyle
education program was developed in
collaboration with 133 African American
women of the local faith community in
Charleston, SC (Oxemann et al, 2000)
It is a know fact that African Americans have
higher incidences of heart disease and high
blood pressure than any other population.
Lifestyle modification, especially physical activity
can reduce the risk associated with CHF
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