Since You Can’t Select Your Family, Choose a Risk-reducing Lifestyle

By Wanda F. Moore

As an African American woman, I am aware that I’m in one of the highest risk groups of dying from heart disease and that my non-inherited risk factors are manageable.

Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and inactivity are risk factors that run rampant in my immediate family and my parents’ families. I have been aware of these risk factors for many years, but did not think I would get heart disease. I made every effort to change my lifestyle to offset those risk factors.

As a member of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Women’s Heart Health Education Committee for many years, I was blessed to be able to say with a humble heart that, “I do not have heart disease and I have not had a heart attack.”

Well, in spite of my healthy, active, watch-my-food-intake lifestyle, I too became a victim of heart disease. I have coronary artery disease (CAD) and in 2015, I had to have bypass surgery. Knowledge is power! The fact that heart disease kills 50,000 African American women each year is a sobering fact to me! Yet, only 52 percent of African American women are aware of their family history or risk factors. Some African American women are unaware of the widely publicized signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Many simply don’t believe it will happen to them!

I believe it! I am a living witness. I have now joined the ranks of those living with heart disease, and I am more committed and passionate about the outreach program – educating other women, especially minority and underserved populations – than I have ever been. I continue to educate myself and other women about risk factors and healthy lifestyle behaviors, providing resources to help others stay healthy and know their family history. (Visit Sarver Heart Center's Hearth Health webpage for resources.)

Won’t you join me in changing the outcomes for women? With your support for research for women of color with cardiovascular disease, we can save lives.

Despite my family heredity, I, Wanda F. Moore, choose to live and give!

Wanda F. Moore is a member of the UA Sarver Heart Center Board and Women's Health Health Education Committee on which she chairs the Minority Outreach Committee. An unselfish community volunteer, Wanda has connected Sarver Heart Center faculty and physicians with numerous community groups throughout Arizona. In 2014, she was honored with the Governor's Volunteer Service Award and is the 2017 Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona honoree. To help address CPR disparities found in African American communities, Wanda produced this educational video.