*CHICAGO – One to three adults in the United States will have hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure (HBP) in their lifetime.
Ideally, adults should keep their blood pressure reading at 140 or under for the top number (systolic) and 90 for the lower number (diastolic). People who have diabetes or kidney disease should have numbers under 130/80.
“Vascular surgeons always are working with their patients to encourage them to check their blood pressure regularly to avoid problems later, because HBP can be a predecessor for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the United States,” said Anil Hingorani, MD, a vascular surgeon at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery®. “Research continues to be done on how to avoid HBP and one of the most startling statistics is that approximately 41 percent of African American males have nearly double the incidence of HBP compared to their Caucasian counterparts.
“Overseas Africans seem to follow a simpler lifestyle and diet, which results in lower blood pressure,” noted Dr. Hingorani. “Black Americans are more likely to have comorbidities like diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking issues, and high salt and fat in their diet – all risk factors for developing HBP. African-Americans develop high blood pressure at younger ages than other ethnic groups in the United States and are more likely to develop complications associated with HBP including stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dementia, and heart disease.
“Researchers have reported that Black Americans may be affected by disparities including stress due to racism, socioeconomic status, educational level, lack of access to quality care and insurance, and racially isolated neighborhoods which can create a higher incidence of HBP for them,” said Dr. Hingorani. “In addition some Black men do not like the current medical system, taking medications, or meeting regularly and talking with one health professional for consistent HBP measurement.”
According to a report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, sometimes Black men don’t seek out preventative care because they don’t feel any symptoms and as a result do not control the ups and downs of their blood pressure. This survey revealed that only 63 percent of whites, 58 percent of Hispanics and 40 percent of Blacks had blood pressure readings that fell within national guidelines.
“All Americans can have risk factors for HBP including increased age, excessive weight, family history, diabetes, inactivity, high dietary salt and fat, low intake of potassium or smoking,” added Dr. Hingorani, who added that anyone with HBP can improve their numbers. Dr. Hingorani suggests eating a variety of foods from all food groups with reasonable portions that are low in salt, fat and carbohydrates, and walking 20 to 30 minutes a day will stay in shape and keep a healthy weight. He recommends avoiding tobacco use and to stay away from second-hand smoke, and limit alcohol. Above all he says, meet with your health professional to get regular blood pressure checkups, and if needed, take the proper medications as prescribed by your physician to lower your blood pressure.
About the Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,650 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at www.VascularWeb.org® and follow SVS on Twitter by searching for VascularHealth or at http://twitter.com/VascularHealth.
*The 5000 year old, ancient art of Ayurveda in India is the natural science of balance.
Indian medicine’s long history makes it one of the oldest catalogued systems of medicine in the world. In fact, Greek and Chinese medicine are both based upon ancient Ayurvedic arts. The earliest concepts of Ayurveda are documented in the Indian sacred writings called the Vedas.
I say all of this to say, Ayurvedic lifestyles offer an alternative resource African-American women can deploy to help defeat many of the illnesses that have plagued our community. Ayurvedists have developed diets and health plans to battle fatal diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, lupus, obesity, high blood pressure and depression. These ailments have shackled our community for too long.
The mission of the Ayurvedic lifestyle is one that constantly seeks balance between, not only, one’s environment but their body, mind, emotion, and spirit. With that being said, everything is based upon keeping a positive emotional outlook. Ayurveda places the focus on the human body’s ability to heal itself by utilizing natural “living” plant resources found in one’s environment.
So let’s really talk about our daily environment. Today, many African-American women find ourselves barely maintaining in high stress environments. It is no surprise to us when our annual exam reveals we are “predisposed” for many of the same diseases that more than likely cut the lives of our mothers and fathers short.
Ayurvedists use the support of natural, non-toxic therapies, including medicinal foods, dietary programs, and natural herbs to cure any ailment.
Search your daily newspaper if you do not believe me, you will find hundreds of “new” discoveries by modern day medical scientists. If you dig a little deeper, you will find these “developments” were already documented hundreds of years ago by Ayurvedists in ancient India. For those who have had an Ayurvedic experience truly know the benefits of Ayurvedic traditions. But let’s go beyond a simple visit to your local Aveda based salon.
As more and more African-America women are becoming familiar with Ayurveda health practices, we are moving away from just the external applications of Ayurveda, such as how it can help grow our hair to the deeper internal applications. We are seeking healthier lifestyles, most likely due to the amount of information we are exposed to now with social media and internet portals.
Most of us have already started to incorporate Yoga into our daily lifestyle. You should know that Ayurveda and Yoga are definitely related to each other. Both of these Indian sciences share the same philosophical base. They are also written in the same language (Sanskrit) and the six basic philosophies of Indian culture are well referenced in Yoga as in Ayurveda.
When Ayurveda practices are incorporated into your health and diet regimine, the benefits are too numerous to list. Not to mention, a family of four can eat, great organic food for a month spending under two hundred dollars on a typical Ayurvedic meal plan.
Recently I discovered a great Ayurvedic based company called Ajika. Ajika is the premiere food, health, wellness and lifestyle subsidiary of Ethnic Foods Company. Ajika and Ethnic Foods Company are long-time purveyors of ancient exotic spices, foods and nutrition.
“Ajika is committed to our mission and commitment to the health and wellness of the entire community and we are striving to be a visible “healthy lifestyle” advocate,” explains Kavita Mehta, International Food Expert and CEO of Ajika and Ethnic Foods Co.
Ajika and Ethnic Foods Co. were founded in 1988, Ajika, quickly became the main supplier of many Indian products in mainstream grocery stores and area health food stores in the Midwest. Ajika provides a distinctive array of exotic foods and spices carefully chosen and prepared in the Ayurvedic tradition.
The mission of Ajika, is to provide the flavors and the culinary traditions of International cuisine to those seeking healthy food options. Ajika stocks many products across multiple categories including an extensive selection of the company’s own signature line, Ajika products.
The exclusivity of Ajika’s offering lies in the ability to source and stock unique, high-quality gourmet products and ingredients from around the globe, including the most extensive line of organic ethnic food spice blends currently available on the market.
International food expert, Kavita Mehta is the woman behind Ajika and Ethnic Foods Co. Mehta’s love for good home cooking began early at home in India. Mehta’s mother was trained in Ayurveda and methodically trained Mehta the ancient art form in her traditional Indian kitchen. From a young age, Mehta mastered Ayurvedic stages of food, types of food and the medicinal benefits of foods and food preparation.
Mehta’s father, who loved to travel across India was also a lover of local foods. Mr. Mehta took his daughter all over India during her long summer vacations where she mastered the value of local food and tastes and food preparation.
Her Uncle, Mr. A.B, Kerkar, nurtured Mehta’s love for global foods and sharing Indian culture further. Kerar, the famous creator of the Taj Group of Hotels in India, is credited with putting India on the world map for global cuisine. Mehta was at his side when he hosted many prestigious events including inviting the common wealth leaders, such as Margaret Thatcher to India and hosting spiritual advisor, Deepak Chopra’s seminars.
Mehta wields a combination of holistic techniques coupled with the ancient Ayurvedic nutritional science to teach her students how to craft amazing meals. Mehta’s demonstration cooking sessions, called Savor Ethnic Foods, teach how to easily integrate local fresh ingredients with health giving spices, organic and heritage foods of the world into our daily diets.
Mehta is a veteran of the international food industry and has been catering to the discerning palates of Midwest food connoisseurs since 1988 by offering many firsts in the industry through local, esteemed grocers including Byerly’s and Kowalski’s. Mehta brings a wealth of knowledge to Ajika and Ethnic Foods Company and is now able to share this directly with the customer. Mehta is an innovator and a proponent of the slow food, real food, local food and organic food movements and it shows in the carefully chosen selection of products at Ajika and Ethnic Foods Company.
*(Via Health 24) – Black people who survive brain bleed strokes are more likely than their white peers to have high blood pressure a year later, new research reveals.
Intracranial haemorrhages represent about 10% of all strokes, but about four in 10 of these strokes lead to death in the first month. The study authors pointed out that high blood pressure is a critical modifiable risk factor for a bleeding stroke.
“If you have already had a stroke, blood pressure treatment can reduce your chance of having another stroke by between 25% and 50%,” study author Dr Darin Zahuranec, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, in Ann Arbor, said in a journal news release.
Zahuranec and his colleagues discuss their findings in the August issue of Stroke.
To explore racial differences among bleeding stroke patients, the authors focused on 162 such stroke patients who were receiving care at Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.
*Millions of fans around the globe have enjoyed the smooth stylings of the R&B group The Dramatics, but little do they know the backstage drama that may soon be chronicled in a book and brought to life on the big screen.
According to long-time member LJ Reynolds, the most recognized leader of the group, the late Ron Banks, grappled with a personal tragedy that has remained secret until now.
“Ron Banks lost his first tenor singing voice,” recalls Reynolds. “This is something that is going to come out in the book, possibly in the movie that we plan to do. I always told Ron, ‘Ron, you just stay here, man, and I’ll look out for you.’ So he dropped down to baritone. He had another guy singing tenor.”
Pausing, he said, “Some people knew it, but Ron Banks was such a beloved figure in the group until people just accepted it.”
Reynolds, speaking to EUR’s Lee Bailey about his new CD – Get to This – said that Banks suffered from a medical condition that few of his friends and fans knew about.
“Ron kind of kept it to himself and was taking this medicine to try to get his voice back, but he had some kind of lesion on his throat that prohibited him from singing falsetto. He didn’t have a falsetto for five years.”
Pausing, Reynolds continued, “Right up until the Dramatics’ Christmas album, Ron kept losing his voice. I said, ‘Ron, we’ve been together for too long. I’m not going to ask you to leave this group, that would have to be your choice. I said, ‘Other than that, you can sing with me until the day you die.”
Reynolds said that when Banks lost his voice, it “destroyed” him.
“I mean, he was devastated and it caused him to drink more and to try to seek other ways of performing on stage. I think he got deeper into a depression. I think it was just a horrible struggle for him to realize that (his voice) was gone.”
A little known fact, according to Reynolds, is that Banks only sang lead or co-lead on several Dramatics songs: “Me And Mrs. Jones”, “Welcome Back Home,” “Oceans of Thoughts and Dreams” and the beginning of “Just Shopping, Not Buying.”
“I sang lead on 90% of the songs, including “In The Rain,” “What You See,” “Can’t Get Over You,” “Stars In Your Eyes,” “Me and Mrs. Jones,” and “I Panicked and Cried.” We had 38 top ten singles,” Reynolds recalled.
Then Reynolds said the group came out with “The Devil is Dope” album. “The first time it came out, the album didn’t have much impact. But then we did it a second time and ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’ came out-and that made Ron Banks a star. They put Ron’s name out front of the group and it became ‘Ron Banks featuring The Dramatics.’”
Reynolds said that fame had an effect on Banks. “I believe if they hadn’t put Ron’s name out front, he would still be alive today,” he reflected. “Fame will kill you if you let it, because everything comes to you and goes through you first. By that time, the damage was done.”
Reynolds said he left the Dramatics for eight years to establish his own solo career.
“I had to get away,” he recalled. “I wrote a song called ‘Key to the World’ that is still going strong right now.”
Reynolds said Banks continued with the group, but his health problems eventually caught up with him.
“I don’t think Ron liked to go to the doctor that much and he just ignored it. He had all the symptoms of hypertension as I remember now. On our final DVD, called “Dramatics – Biggest Hits Live,” Ron is on that DVD, but if you look at it closely, you’ll see that Ron is not singing first tenor.”
Reynolds said group members were shocked when Banks passed away last year. “Ron died of hypertension, high blood pressure, which is the silent killer,” said Reynolds. “The high blood pressure gave him a stroke which damaged his heart.
“When Ron Banks died, things changed,” reflected Reynolds. “People had different concepts of how they thought Dramatics business should be run, and I’m talking about Ron’s wife. When somebody dies, people get bitter in a sense … I think it’s nothing different than what the Chi-Lites went through and Otis Williams of the Temptations went through. Their wives don’t understand that when you do live performances, you have to be alive before you can be compensated for those performances. It was almost like I killed Ron. I didn’t kill him.”
Reynolds said that people began coming out of the woodwork to give advice about the group.
“There were also other people I had to deal with. After Ron’s death, things got kind of shady, but I had all my paperwork in control and in the right order, because I did a lot of the Dramatics’ business. A lot of people didn’t know that. I basically did most of the paperwork for us and kept things going.
“People started to go against me about this Dramatic business, and I mean people that had never done any business with us at all,” Reynolds continued. “I had been doing Dramatic business for 25 years talking to agents and dealing with promoters.”
Reynolds said that since Bank’s death, he has tried to smooth over things with Bank’s wife.
“I did reach out to her and try to help her. Hopefully, she has toned it down with the attorneys and hopefully they explained to her that she had to have an operating agreement which states that upon someone’s death, you still have to pay the family. For live performances, you have to be alive. Ron has got his last record on the Dramatics that he did with us and she’ll be very well compensated for it. I’ll make sure I can do whatever I can do for his kids.”
Pausing, he added, “I’m not mad at her, I’m not mad at anybody. I love Ron’s kids and I’ve reached out to her financially, but apparently, she wanted more.”
Reynolds said that Banks’ death caused many in the entertainment industry to think the group had dissolved and gone its separate ways.
“I had to restructure this group and rebuild confidence out there in the field and let everybody know that the Dramatics were still working. People just weren’t booking the Dramatics. And I understand that it wasn’t appropriate at the time, but those guys (in the group) needed to work.”
LJ says the group still performs to sell-out crowds across the country.
“We just did a show in Ohio and the people loved it: The Dramatics and The Stylistics show. We go out and we do a great show. I do a tribute in the show to Ron and say, ‘This is the way he would have sung this part.’”
As for the unforgettable Ron Banks, Reynolds isn’t sure if he can ever be replaced.
“I haven’t yet found a replacement for Ron. There’s a lot of knuckleheads out there and you have to watch these people. I’m 59 years old and I’m kind of fed up with the bullsh*t.”
Reynolds eventually hopes to pen a book called “After Death” to chronicle the life of the Dramatics before and after Banks’ death.
“I’ve been approached by several people to do a DVD movie of the Dramatic story and, believe me, it would be a very interesting story. I just didn’t want to do another Temptation type of movie. Our life story is different than theirs, anyway. We had different things happen,” Reynolds recalled.
And Reynolds said that although he will always remain a member of the Dramatics, his solo career is going strong.
“Now, in the last quarter of my life, I’ve decided to do a little more of LJ Reynolds and focus on things that I wanted to do other than things that other people wanted me to do,” said Reynolds, who co-owns Motor City Hits with partner Herb Strather. “I’ve got a show I do called ‘LJ Sings It All’ in which I sing Dramatic songs and songs from my gospel album called “The Message,” which features the singles “I Believe You Can Make It” and “Sunday Morning,” he said.
And of course, as we mentioned above, Reynolds’ newest solo effort, Get to This is now out on his Motor City Hits label featuring the smash “Come Get To This (Stepping Out Tonight.” Watch and groove to the video below.