Rhonda’s Cooking


Posts Tagged ‘heart disease’

May is National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month

Posted by rhondascooking on May 11, 2012

The Center for Disease Control has marked May as National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month in an effort to raise awareness of its impact on one’s health. According to research, 1 out of every 3 American adults faces high blood pressure and every 40 seconds someone has a stroke! High blood pressure is the fourth leading cause of death in United States of America! [1]

The following are FIVE things you should know about this health issue [2]:

1. The definition of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (sometimes called hypertension) is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. It can cause a number of things to occur such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, etc.

2. How would I know if I have High Blood Pressure?
Sometimes the symptoms aren’t obvious, such as numbness or weakness of the arm or leg or trouble seeing in one or both eyes, and other times the symptoms are distinguished like chest pains/tightening, severe headaches, slurred speech, dizziness, trouble walking/balancing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical assistant immediately!

3. How to interpret blood pressure levels
Blood pressure is measure by Systolic and diastolic numbers. A normal blood pressure should have a systolic number of 120mmHG and a diastolic number of 80mmHG or lower for each. If the numbers are higher, then you will be categorized as the following:

  • Pre-hypertension: 120 – 139mmHG (systolic) or 80 – 89mmHG (diastolic)
  • High blood pressure (Stage 1): 140 – 149mmHG (systolic) or 90 – 99mmHG (diastolic)
  • High blood pressure (Stage 2): 150mmHG or higher (systolic)or 100mmHG or higher (diastolic)

4. The Causes High Blood Pressure?
There are a number of factors that could cause high blood pressure to occur. This is a subset of some of the causes.

  • Stress
  • Unhealthy Eating Lifestyle (High sodium diet, large intake of processed foods, large amount of alcohol consumption, smoking, or lack of physical activity.)
  • obesity
  • Age
  • Certain medications
  • Kidney or thyroid disease
  • Sleep apnea

5. Ways to prevent or reduce blood pressure?
First, consult your health care provider before beginning any changes in diet or medication. Secondly, work with your health care provider/nutritionist to transition to a healthier lifestyle one that includes exercise with a healthy diet—more vegetables, less sodium and less processed foods. You will start to see improved results!

High blood pressure impacts many families, especially many African American families, including mine! Let’s do what we can to spread the awareness!

[1]“May is Stroke Awareness Month; Know Your Risks.” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Million Hearts™. April 23, 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HighBloodPressure/&gt;.
[2] “What Is High Blood Pressure?” National Heart Lungs and Blood Institute. April 01, 2011. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/&gt;.


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XBox 360 w/ Kinect Changes the Game of Health

Posted by rhondascooking on November 24, 2011

I’m not a hard core gamer, but since Microsoft released its Kinect for XBox 360 I’ve turned into a HUGE fan thanks to games like “Your Shape”, “The Biggest Loser”, and “Adventure Games.”    I’m sure you’re wondering why and the answer is simple–these games make me sweat!    After setting up my Kinect and launching the first game, it was so much fun, and it left me drenched in sweat with an elevated heart rate and gasping for air!   I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m out of shape!”

XBox 360 w/ Kinect

Also, with games like  “Your Shape” I’m able to have my own personal trainer in the comfort of my home–no need to pay gym membership and trainer fees.  This game is truly amazing; I’m can set workout routines that complement my goals and body profile.   There is no special device  to hold during the workout; the Kinect senor senses my body and all I have to do is just get moving!

I know that many Parents struggle with decidng whether to purchase a video game console for their childbren, but I believe that XBox 360 is worth adding to the wishlist!  This console can help encourage children to exercise more which helps in reducing obesity or heart disease, which are ideal.  Just integrate exercise fitness game play with their favorite games, such as for every 15 minutes of regular game play, there will be 15 minutes of fitness game time!   Lastly, not only is the the XBox 360 an awesome gaming console, but also it is a great all-around home entertainment center that delivers both Live and On-Demand content.

So, no matter the occasion, XBox 360 with the Kinect are indeed must have’s for any family!

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It’s time to make a change…African Americans continue to rank high with heart disease

Posted by rhondascooking on August 11, 2011

Since I can remember, heart attacks, strokes, stints, triple by-pass surgeries, etc. are all words that I’ve heard countless times as a child in my small town in Louisiana.  Almost everyone I knew had some sort of surgery related to their heart.  Over the years, it seemed as if the number of people I knew with heart disease continued to grow along with poor eating habits.  In fact, there was a person who was close to me who had two open heart surgeries and a heart transplant, but still refused to change his eating—he laughed at me and said, “I can’t eat ‘rabbit food’ like you.”  A year later, he died.  This really impacted me greatly and it gave me even more ammunition to finish writing my cookbook to help people learn to cook and eat healthy meals that are low in sodium, sugar and fat.

Being that I’m from Louisiana, I know how hard it is to transition to a healthier lifestyle.  It’s almost a sin!  Sweet, salty, and fried…is like the basic foundation of all of our family recipes; it’s what makes people smile whenever they say they are going to Louisiana to eat “good food”.  Well, enough is enough!  Good Food is not good if it will kill you! As African Americans, we must stop this nonsense mentality that I have one life to live so I’m going to eat what I want.  Well, enough, your life is not just about you.  Everyone has a purpose in life and in order to fulfill that purpose, you must be alive. If you continue to eat foods that are fatal to your health, then your purpose will never be fulfilled, which has more of an impact for generations to follow.

Five facts why African Americans MUST make a lifestyle change[1]!


Cardiovascular Disease (also known as CVD or sometimes called heart disease) is America’s number one killer!  In fact, more than 2,200 people die per day with this disease.  To break this down further, this is 1 death every 39 seconds!!!  This is more than cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and accidents combined.


Major cause of death for Blacks (non-Hispanics), is cardiovascular disease with men at 44.8% and men at 47.3%


In 2007 the overall death rate for cardiovascular disease was 251.2 with black men at 405.9 and black women at 286.1.  Both of these rates are higher than other races (i.e. 294 for white men and 205.7 for white women).


More than 150,000 Americans younger than age 65 died of CVD and almost 33% of all Americans with CVD died before age 75, which is younger than the estimated life expectancy. Of these numbers, CVD caused the death of 47,387 black men and 50,015 black females—that’s almost 50% of the total American death population due to CVD!


Majority heart disease diagnosis is associated directly with diet.  In fact, overweight/obesity and physical inactivity were each estimated to be responsible for nearly 1 in 10 deaths.

I hope that these five facts that I have presented to you are enough for you to consider changing your life towards a healthier lifestyle.  One that includes choosing healthier food choices including low salt, low sugar and no fried foods!  Are you up for the challenge?  If you need help or motivation, please post a comment and we can encourage each other!

[1] Veronique Roger, et al.  “Heart Disease and Stroke Disease—2011 Update:  A Report from the American Heart Association,” Circulation 2011, 123: e18 – e209: originally published online December 2010.

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Stop Putting It Off—Take Care of Your Body

Posted by rhondascooking on June 20, 2008

Did you know that the No. #1 cause of death amongst adult men and women is atherosclerosis, a disease affecting the arterial blood vessels?  Although you may not feel it, when you have atherosclerosis, your blood vessels do not function as well as they could and it may reduce your quality of life, according to cardiologist Dr. Robert Ostfeld.1  


As you may have heard last weekend, NBC’s Meet the Press anchor, Tim Russet (age 58), died suddenly while at work due to a rupture in the artery caused by cholesterol plaque build up.1  Reports indicate that Tim has had coronary artery disease for many years, as well as an enlarged heart.  His health was being monitored by his doctor and “under control” with medication and exercise; as a matter of fact, according to NBC, Tim did well on his stress test in April.  Unfortunately, there was not a test available that could predict that plaque would rupture.


I know that this is hard for Tim’s family, friends and his fans, and I don’t want to exploit this situation.  However, I do have several subscribers to this newsletter who are challenged with some sort of heart problem, who can learn from what has happened. So, please don’t stop reading this article, instead perform a self-check.  If you know that you or someone else you know has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, an enlarged heart, diabetes, obesity, etc., stop wasting time; do your part by making some changes in your life. According to studies, heart atherosclerosis develops from LDL (bad cholesterol).2 LDL increases when you eat fried foods, high fructose corn syrup, etc.  Some ways you can decrease LDL by eating foods high in Omega-3 fatty acid, eating whole grains, losing weight and exercising. 


So stop telling yourself that life is too short—you’re going to eat whatever you want.  Stop telling yourself, that you can’t stop eating fried chicken and peach cobblers.  Don’t allow your lusts/desires for unhealthy foods to determine your fate in life.  The following are Dr. Cam Patterson’s, Chief of the Division of Cardiology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 4 important steps to do concerning your health:

1.      Have a dialogue with your physician about your risk and whether you’re at high risk or not.

2.      Identify those things under your power to control and to change those that you can.

3.      Make those changes as part of a lifestyle commitment and not as a diet you fall on and off of; it really needs to be a lifestyle commitment.

4.      Understand that cardiovascular disease is the # 1 cause of death and disability in our society, so it’s something you really can’t afford to ignore.



1 “Tim Russet’s Death:  Questions, Answers.”  June 17, 2008.  Medscape.  June 18, 2008 <http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/576251_print>.

2“Atherosclerosis.”  June 13, 2008.  Wikipedia.  June 19, 2008.  < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atherosclerosis#Diet_and_dietary_supplements>.

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