Advice & Help

What do Black women need to know about heart disease?

Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans of all ages, gender and races. It takes years to damage the arteries that bring blood to the heart and usually the first signs of heart disease occurs after menopause -ages 50s to 60s. However , having high blood pressure or diabetes speeds the damage and may present at a younger age. Heart attacks are preventable.

What are some symptoms of a heart attack in women?

Many women have the typical symptoms of heart attack, that is chest pressure with tightness and pain which moves to the left shoulder and arm . Feels like indigestion.
However, some women have atypical symptoms of discomfort in neck and jaw, shoulder, back and stomach without chest pain.

Before the actual heart attack many people report not feeling well, feeling weak and other vague symptoms. Too, some may have noted chest discomfort while walking which improves with rest. Gradually these chest pain/ discomfort occurs more frequently with less exertion.

What role does lifestyle play in Black Women heart health?

Living a healthful life is the best way to prevent heart disease.

  1. Eating a diet with plenty vegetables, high fiber foods, whole grains, nuts (only one handful a day) and fruits helps to reduce the level of harmful cholesterol and decrease inflammation. For each meal half of your plate should be filled with non starchy vegetables ( lettuce, broccoli, collared greens, carrots, beets, tomatoes, peas etc). The other half divided with protein( meat, fish, chicken) and starchy vegetables ( rice, potatoes, yams, bread, beans etc).
  2. Eating fish and chicken is better than red meats. Avoid processed meats. Flavor meats with herbs (thyme, cilantro and parsley etc) and spices ( except salt) . Use lemon juice and vinegar instead of salt.
  3. Use healthy fats such as olive oil. Do Minimal frying- but if must fry, use organic coconut oil or canola oil.
  4. Exercise 30 minutes daily and include weight training twice a week.
  5. Reduce stress- learn to meditate
  6. Stay connected with friends and family – develop good relationships.
  7. Maintain a healthy weight- try never to exceed BMI greater than 27.
  8. Do not smoke cigarettes

Dr. Cheryl L. Holder will be participating in the Dr. Nelson’s Walk A Mile With A Child on May 5, 2018, In Historic Overtown. For more information about sponsorship and vending, contact: Dr. Anthony Hall at 305.342.6328.

About Dr. Cheryl L. Holder

Dr Cheryl Holder

Dr Cheryl Holder









Dr. Cheryl L. Holder is board certified in Internal Medicine and has dedicated her medical career to serving underserved populations. She began her career in 1987 as a National Health Service Corp Scholar working with medically underserved communities in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Under the tutelage of Lynn Carmichael, MD, known as the “father of Family Medicine,” Dr. Holder supervised University of Miami Family Medicine Residents during their Internal Medicine rotation at Jackson Memorial Hospital. From 1990 to 2009, Dr. Holder served as Medical Director for Jackson Health System’s North Dade Health Center. As Medical Director, she developed an HIV care and treatment program with funding through the Ryan White Care Act. Dr. Holder has participated in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute of Health advisory and programmatic review panels for HIV treatment and vaccine research. Dr. Holder directed the first school-based health center in Miami-Dade County, founded the Florida Coalition for School-based Health Care Services, and participated in the effort to expand school-based health care in Miami-Dade County, Florida. In September 2009, she joined Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine as faculty. Her focus is on teaching medical students about working in underserved communities and promoting diversity in the health professions through pipeline programs. Dr. Holder is Director for the “Period One Primary Care Preceptorship.” Dr. Holder was born in Jamaica.

About the author

Dr Cheryl Holder