Health Moment:African Americans Take Charge of your Health

7 Steps To Take Charge of your HEALTH

It’s important for us to get check ups and visit our doctor regularly. Not to long ago, while watching Tamar Braxton and her husband Vince I felt like I needed to visit my doctor, just for a routine check up. Seeing them both was like watching so many of my friends who work hard night and day and don’t realize that something is wrong with their health. During my appointment, I found out my general health was fine, but the doctor encouraged me to take more vitamin supplements such as iron and vitamin D.

In our urban American culture that says work harder so we can have more money and more things, we see firsthand with Tamar and Vince what can happen if we don’t take a break and view the signals our bodies may be giving us. Tamar’s story is important because it is a reminder to all women who love their families, that we shouldn’t only have a desire to provide, thrive and succeed, but that we need to watch, evaluate, and analyze our health as if it were tangible money going into our pockets. Our families need us to be alive, attentive, and present. Thus, we all need to remember to pay attention to the health signals. Tamar suffered from  Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)  and Vince suffered from having a pulmonary embolism. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms and which learn which diseases you may be at risk for contracting because of your genetic makeup.

Take Charge of Your HealthWHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF TOS?

  • Discoloration of your hand (bluish color)
  • Arm pain and swelling, possibly due to blood clots
  • Blood clot in veins or arteries in the upper area of your body
  • Lack of color (pallor) in one or more of your fingers or your entire hand
  • Weak or no pulse in the affected arm
  • Cold fingers, hands or arms
  • Arm fatigue after activity
  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers
  • Weakness of arm or neck
  • Throbbing lump near your collarbone (source)


  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Leg pain
  • Discolored skin
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness

Read a full list of symptoms here.

I don’t know anyone, personally, who has suffered from TOS or anyone who had a pulmonary embolism, but there are several other diseases that can affect many of African-Americans. I know people who have both lived and died from these diseases mentioned below. As a result, we have to arm each other with knowledge so we can learn about survival and prevention.  

WebMD has an article on their website that states “Why 7 Deadly Diseases Strike Blacks Most.”  The diseases are:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Asthma 
  3. Sarcoidosis
  4. Lung cancer
  5. Stroke
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Cancer 

Black Americans are not the only demographic that contract these 7 diseases, but they do die from them more than other groups. Why? Well, the article suggests that the reason for higher disease related fatalities goes beyond basic health care, some factors include racism, living near highways, and city waste dumps, genetics, environmental factors, and living in communities that may not have adequate places to exercise or grocery stores that don’t provide good decent fresh produce, and in some cases not having doctor referrals to see specialist that can help manage disease affectedly (read more). Regardless of the cause, we have learn more and take charge of our health and how it affects our loved ones. 

7 Steps to put you in charge of your health

  1. Fresh food is best! Eat healthy less processed foods. 
  2. Exercise after meals. Get outside and move at least 5 times a Take Charge of Your Healthweek.
  3. Don’t settle. Don’t become a couch potato. Even during work hours, try to walk around to stay active. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  4. Sleep. Move technology out of your bedroom and sleep. Write a list of what’s on your mind, but leave it ther
    e so your mind can rest until the following day.
  5. Exercise your mind. Learn how to do something new or play mind stimulating board games instead of watching TV. Read more. Help your brain by giving it challenging thought content.
  6. Partner with your doctor. Develop health goals and discuss them with your doctor.
  7. It’s your health learn how to manage it. Read about conditions that may affect you and learn how to properly take care of yourself.

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