CEO Corner: 5 Steps to Better Care for Ourselves

Posted Thursday February 20, 2020

A message from Health Gap President & CEO Renee Mahaffey Harris. 

February is the month of love, Black History, and Heart Health.  As we celebrate love and acknowledge the contributions of African Americans, let us also remember to love ourselves by knowing the health of our hearts and the signs of heart disease.  American Heart Month reminds us that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women – killing more women than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, black women die 28% more than White women with heart disease.  All women should take heart health seriously because it affects us all, not just older women.

This month, let’s take these 5 steps to better care for ourselves:

  • Own Your Health.  Get annual checkups and know your blood pressure and cholesterol. Make the effort to be more physically active, lose weight, eat healthier, and stop smoking.
  • Know Your Risk Factors. We think it won’t happen to us, but heart disease kills one of three women with the disease.
  • Manage Your Stress. There are clear links between stress and heart disease (stress affects women’s hearts more than men’s).  Stress and depression make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Get Enough Sleep. Adequate sleep allows your blood pressure and heart rate to go down because your heart works less when you sleep.
  • Know the Symptoms of a Heart Attack – see graphic below. (Image courtesy of


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