Heart and Vascular

Taking control: Empowering tips for African-Americans living with high blood pressure

African American woman getting blood pressure taken


By Dr. Mark Harrison, cardiologist, Nuvance Health 

February is both American Heart Month and Black History Month. During this month of awareness, let’s put a spotlight on hypertension.


In the United States, African Americans have a greater prevalence of high blood pressure among other racial and ethnic groups. It can also be more severe and develop earlier in life. 


When uncontrolled or undetected, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels that may lead to a heart attack, heart failure and/or stroke.


High blood pressure typically doesn’t have symptoms. That’s why it’s important to check with a healthcare professional regularly. 


Learn more about cardiovascular disease prevention at Nuvance Health


If you have hypertension or are looking for ways to lower it, here are some things you can do:

  • Consume a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and avoid saturated and trans fats
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Don’t smoke or vape
  • Consume less than 1,500 mg of salt per day
  • Eat foods that contain potassium, like bananas, beans and spinach. 
  • Talk to your provider about whether medication is right for you 

The Nuvance Health Heart Center is co-hosting a Heart Health Fair in February that will include complimentary blood pressure screenings. 

  • Saturday, February 25, 11 am to 2 pm, Adams Fairacre Farms, Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls markets 

Take Our
Heart Health Quiz.


Dr. Mark Harrison is a board-certified, fellowship-trained cardiologist with The Heart Center, a division of Hudson Valley Cardiovascular Practice, P.C., part of Nuvance Health. He has extensive experience in treating wide spectrum of conditions including coronary artery disease, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, congestive heart failure and arrhythmias. He sees patients in Fishkill and Poughkeepsie, NY. Book now with Dr. Harrison.

Mark Harrison, Cardiologist at Nuvance Health