Executive Director American Heart Association Tampa Bay, Qiana Cressman, joined Gayle Guyardo the host of the global health and wellness show Bloom and shared more about the 60 mile challenge, and talked about why African Americans are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites.

Cressman provided these facts and statistics about heart disease:

•  Heart disease and stroke is the No. 1 killer in women

•  And stroke disproportionately affects Black women

•  An important factor is that Black women are less likely than white women to be aware that heart disease is their leading cause of death.

•  Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity and a family history of heart disease are all greatly prevalent among Black women and are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

•  What’s more, Black women have almost two times the risk of stroke than Caucasians, and more likely to die at an earlier age when compared to women of other ethnicities.

Unsettling statistics

•  Cardiovascular diseases kill more than 50,000 Black women annually. Stroke is a leading cause of death among Black women.

•  Among Black women ages 20 and older, nearly 59% have cardiovascular disease. … I think that one needs repeating. 6 out of every 10 Black women over the age of 20 have cardiovascular disease.

•  Only 39% of Black women are aware that chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack; only 33% recognize that pain spreading to the shoulder, neck, or arms is another potential heart attack sign.

•  Among Black women ages 20 years and older, nearly 58% have high blood pressure and only around 20% of those women have their blood pressure under control.

The importance of noticing your blood pressure:

The number of Black women with high blood pressure looks to be almost exactly the same as the total number of Black women with cardiovascular disease. Are the two things really linked that closely?

•  More than 40% of non-Hispanic Blacks have high blood pressure. But what we’ve found is that in the Black community, high blood pressure is more severe, and develops earlier in life. This little known fact is something that, if known and treated in advance, can lead to longer, healthier lives.

Why is the black community disproportionately affected or targeted?

•  Researchers have found that there may be a gene that makes the Black population much more sensitive to the effects of salt, which in turn increases the risk for developing high blood pressure. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure by as much as five millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

•  But it’s also more than that because studies also show that Black adults born in the U.S. had a higher rate of death from cardiovascular diseases and all causes compared to Black adults who were born in other countries.

•  We also know that Black women tend to have higher rates of obesity and diabetes, which puts them at greater risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. But for many Black women, particularly those who consider themselves perfectly healthy, perception may not always equal reality.

•  Trauma in childhood may lead to worse heart health later in life for Black people in the U.S. who have a low income, but not for those who have more money.

Warning Signs of Stroke or Heart Attack:

•  Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

•  Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

•  Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

•  Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

•  Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

You can watch Bloom in the Tampa Bay Market weekdays at 2pm on WFLA News Channel 8.

Bloom is now part of DBTV Network Seen In Over 300 Million Households worldwide, including Roku TV, and Amazon Fire.

Bloom also airs in 40 markets across the country, with a reach of approximately 36 million households, and in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Madison, WI.