Savannah mayor, community doctors host panel for American Heart Month

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 10:47 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A room full of advocates and doctors spent Thursday evening having a conversation about taking care of heart health.

It’s heart month and with heart disease being the leading cause of death in the country, they want people to know the risks and how to prevent it before it’s too late.

“It’s Black History Month and we’d be remised if we don’t key in to the disparities we run into with coronary disease, heart disease, and how it’s treated in our country. And we know that overall, though Black people are less likely to have coronary disease, they’re 30% more likely to die from coronary disease,” said Dr. Akinniran Abisogun, a cardiologist.

They also talked about when it’s the right time to get an endocrinologist involved.

“There are times you need to get other members of the healthcare team involved specialists involved. Sometimes it’s too late by the time you get to a specialist. If someone is having difficulty achieving their blood sugar target...getting their blood sugar under control,” said Dr. Abby Abisogun, an endocrinologist.

Heart disease is especially prevalent among minorities. A traditional way of thinking in those households is where parents encourage kids to clean their plates even when they’re full.

“We don’t want children to be wasteful so we want to try to fix portions they will consume but we don’t want them to continue to eat once they get filled,” said Dr. Ericka Russell-Petty, a pediatrician.

According to the director of the Coastal Health District, people also need to be ready to acknowledge they need help

“We have to be humble and not be so prideful...saying, ‘I refuse to see a doctor. I know my legs are hurting but I don’t wanna take any pills get any surgery. I don’t wanna get anything done.’ Don’t be so prideful that we don’t accept these gifts from God that are here that we don’t accept these people in our community working to improve our health,” said Dr. Bonzo Reddick, the district health director of the Coastal Health District.