Black America History Month, American Heart Month and Salt

- Feb• 04•14

Black Americans salt coverFebruary has been designated as American Heart Month. Many events are planned to remind us all that heart disease kills more people than any other regardless of ethnicity and gender.

This month also happens to be observed as Black History Month. It’s a well established fact that the state of Black America’s health is worse than just about all othe ethnic segments of America. This disparity, which is especially pronounced in contrast to White Americans, is due to one historically-related fact which most Black Americans aren’t even aware of.  Black Americans happen to be much more sensitive to salt added to food than Caucasians.

This seemingly insignificant seasoning contributes to Black Americans suffering health challenges—including cardiovascular disease, strokes, asthma, osteoporosis, obesity, kidney disease, stomach cancer and dementia—two to six times more often than Caucasians, and two to six times more acutely, at far younger ages.

Sources of Mortality 

To illustrate the suffering of Black America caused by this simple salt habit, I will take you back in time to when I was a surgical trainee in New York in the late 1970s. I just cannot get this experience—one of the most gut-wrenching in my four decades of practice—out of my mind. I was on my hospital rounds when I met a young Black American woman just about my age, the mother of two children, attached to a dialysis machine. She spent most of the day, almost every day chained to this machine. To make matters worse, she had to endure the pain of one surgery after another just to keep her dialysis access working. Every surgical resident got to operate on her.

I hope you can picture the state of this young mother hooked to the dialysis machine most of the time, with no time, energy or means to take care her two little ones. What a tragedy. All this suffering because salt-induced severe high blood pressure had shut down her kidneys.

This young woman who I still can’t get out of my mind so many years later is by no means the exception when it comes to Black Americans on dialysis. Even though Black Americans comprise only 12 – 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for about a third of all the patients on dialysis in this country.

Kidney disease is just one of the grim realities inherent in the dismal state of Black America’s health. Not only are the lives of Black Americans shortened to rank below 100 of the world’s nations, Black Americans live day in day out in a dismal state of health. Nearly three quarters of all this disparity in health has now been traced to illnesses that stem from simple salt sensitivity.

The problem is catastrophic, but the solution could be as simple as finding ways to alert Black Americans about the dangers they run when adding salt to their food. Despite the efforts of many public and private agencies, the socioeconomic and cultural reasons for the poor health in the Black American neighborhoods state have been difficult to overcome for decades. Educating Black America about the dangers of salt could be lot easier and more productive when it comes to directly improving Black American health.

To further this cause, we have released our educational book Salt: Black America’s Silent Killer on the occasion of Black History Month as well as American Heart Month.

This simple, illustrated book will help any reader become aware of the dangers of adding salt to their food.  

The overwhelming positive feedback from readers of our previous book Salt Kills encourages us to work towards the goal of helping Black Americans to improve their health.  Their comments:

  • So easy to read.
  • Simple to understand.
  • Unquestionably persuasive.
  • A quick read.
  • Extremely well researched.
  • Well illustrated.
  • A must read.
  • Intensively persuasive.
  • An important and great contribution to the health of the nation.

And on and on. One reader even wrote:

The language and illustrations of this book make it read like a Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat-version of a preventive health-care book. Just flip through Salt Kills —it’s sure to catch your attention.

We’ve written Salt: Black America’s Silent Killer in the reader-friendly style. We invite you to check out this book specifically directed to the plight of Black America’s health that is being compromised by a simple salt habit. We also invite all those who are engaged in the betterment of Black America to join us in this mission. By pooling our collective resources, we can educate Black Americans about how simply cutting back on salt will so dramatically improve their health and quality of life.

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One Comment

  1. Rupen Joshi says:

    Very interesting easy to understand good educational book

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