Cardiovascular disease takes a tremendous toll on African American women, and there are ways to reduce the risk to live a long and healthy life.

Doctors with the American Heart Association say that heart conditions kill more than 50-thousand black women each year, with stroke being the leading cause of their deaths.

Every year the association tries to connect with women who are at risk.

“High blood pressure, hypertension, high blood sugar, diabetes, overweight, obesity, smoking,” explains Hailu Tilahun, MD/Cardiologist, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. “Stress reduction is another thing too because we know that that’s something that can increase the likelihood of all these risk factors.”

Exercise, a balanced diet, and identifying what brings stress into our lives and managing it, are great starting points to bring change to your heart health.