Health + Wellness

Black History of Health: James Brown


heart

When James Brown died on Christmas Day 2006 at age 73, officials at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital Midtown cited congestive heart failure as the cause of death. Nearly a decade later, the medical team that signed Brown’s death certificate says that prognosis has changed.   

For many years, the famed entertainer was coined the hardest working man in entertainment, so his death caused a ripple effect in the music business. It also raised some hard questions. 

People close to the “It’s a Man’s World” singer theorized he was actually killed and his heart was in normal condition shortly before his passing. Although the cause is still being debated, we do know that heart failure is one of the leading causes of death in the Black community. 

Per the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans were 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites.

Although African American adults are 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, they are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to have their blood pressure under control; African American women are 60 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, as compared to non-Hispanic white women.

What is congestive heart failure?

According to the American Heart Association, congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscle.

While often referred to simply as heart failure, CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up within the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently.

You have four heart chambers. The upper half of your heart is made up of two atria, and the lower half of your heart is made up of

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