Aspirations of Life Blog Spot

Are You Aware Of Your History & Heart?

Now is a time to reflect on the heritage of the African American culture! Every year we should especially take the time  in February to honor historical figures, events, and current representatives who have been exceptional examples of African Americans doing ground-breaking work for our culture. Many of these fearless leaders worked night and day to give us the privileges to do many of the things we take for granted today. Many of these figures give inspiration and hope to many African Americans. We can do whatever we put our minds to!  Black History Month is also celebrated and shared with Heart Disease Awareness month, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and highest mortality amongst African Americans.

This year, Aspirations Of Life would like to honor  Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (1856-1931), the first African American recorded to have performed a successful open heart surgery.dr-daniel-hale-williams1 When Dr. Williams graduated from Medical School, he was unable to practice because African Americans were only allowed to practice medicine in “colored only” hospitals. With this in mind, he founded the first non-segregated hospital, Provident Hospital located right here in Chicago, IL. In 1893, at his founding hospital, Dr. Williams saved a man from death by repairing his heart lining after a knife to the chest wound,  this was the first recorded open heart surgery by an African American doctor.  It is because of Dr. Daniel that many others are able to pioneer and succeed into surgery and medicine.

CromwellToday we have many great surgeons such as Dr. Edward Cornwell III, surgeon-in- chief,  professor of surgery, and chairman of the department of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine. In addition to being a surgeon he is committed to violence prevention through education and outreach! Something very important to us here at Aspirations of Life.


We would also like to honor Dr. Velma Scantlebury, she is the first black woman in the country to become a heart transplant surgeon. Dr. Scantlebury works to increase the number of minorities  who are organ donors and also bring more minorities into the field of organ transplant surgery. She has performed over 200 live organ donor transplants in her career. Scantlebury We love to promote African Americans that are making important strides for our culture. Surgeons like Dr. Scantlebury and Dr. Cromwell have made it possible for young African American to follow in their foot steps. Surgeons of color are necessary, who better to research the needs of African Americans than us?

African Americans have the highest mortality rate from coronary heart disease (CHD). This disease  commonly leads to heart attacks.  Some of the risks that cause heart disease include individuals that have high blood pressure also known as Hypertension, Being Overweight or Obese, and high cholesterol. Hypertension is the biggest risk factor; on WebMD  , here are a couple of questions you should ask your doctor when they diagnose you with high blood pressure:

  • What is my risk for developing high blood pressure?
  • How can I limit my risk and help prevent it?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What does my blood pressure reading actually mean?
  • Am I taking any medicines that make me more susceptible?
  • What medications are available if I have high blood pressure?
  • What are the benefits and side effects

Heart disease is very prevalent in the African American community and there are ways to prevent it. Eating healthy and exercise are the things that can be done now. It is never too early to begin a journey into healthy life styles.  The American Heart Association website recommends at least 2.5 of moderate-intense physical activity weekly which can include brisk-walking or jogging.  exerciseFor healthy food options, ChooseMyPlate is another website that can assist with recipes and tips on healthy eating and creates plans that are right for your family and their eating habits.



 Be Aware Of Your Heart: (Information below taken from Mercy Hospital Website)

Love Your Heart and take advantage of free health screening events to help you live well. Find the location nearest you and begin your road to a healthy heart.  No appointment necessary, just stop by during the times listed!Free screenings include blood pressure, cholesterol, and more.
Wednesday, February 19th
Mercy Hospital & Medical Center
2525 S. Michigan Avenue
7:00am-8:30am; 11:00am-1:00pm; 4:00pm-5:30pmSaturday, February 22nd
* Special Beyond the Heart Event; Comprehensive Screening
Mercy Family Health Center at Oakwood Shores
3753 S. Cottage Grove Avenue
8:00am-2:00pmPossible screenings (based on risk factors) include:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Ankle Brachial Index (ABI), which identifies risk of peripheral vascular disease, blockage of the blood vessels that supply blood to the legs.
  • Carotid Artery Screenings, which scan the major arteries in the neck for buildup of fatty plaque, the number one cause of stroke.
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, which identifies risk of enlargement of the blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs.

*Appointments are required for this event only; call 312-567-2600

Wednesday, February 26th
Mercy Medical in Chatham
8541 S. State


Here at AOL, we want to wish you all Happy Black History Month and we hope that you have found our information helpful! Lets continue to make 2014 a year of healthy habits and why not start with your heart!

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