Fiery Latin dances - the Tango, Rumba, Mambo, Flamenco, and Bolero - are a healthy way to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15.
“Fast-paced Latin dances are great for your health,” said Donna Mendes, MD, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery®. “They keep your heart pumping and blood circulating – all the things we need from exercise. It’s a fun way to stay in shape. My friends and I salsa nearly every Saturday night!”
Latin-style ballroom dances can help celebrate the culture of Americans from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Authorized by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, the month-long national event keeps everyone “dancing with the stars.”
Exercise is especially important among Hispanic Americans and African Americans. Sixty-five percent of Mexican-American men and 74 percent of Mexican-American women do not participate in leisure time physical activity according to a 2004 article in the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association magazine, Stroke Connections. Therefore, many are overweight.
The fourth leading cause of death among Hispanic Americans is stroke according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2006 Performance and Accountability Report. On average, Hispanic Americans experience a stroke earlier (at age 67) compared with non-Hispanic whites (at age 80).
"Contributing factors for stroke are diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity,” said Dr. Mendes. “These conditions are quite prevalent among Hispanic Americans and African Americans.” The risk factors for stroke include:
1. Blood pressure more than 135/85
2. Atrial fibrillation
4. Excessive drinking
5. High cholesterol
6. Ucontrolled diabetes
7. Less than 30 minutes of exercise daily
8. A diet high in sodium (salt)
9. Blood circulation problems
"Lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and daily exercise such as dancing can positively impact vascular health,” said Dr. Mendes. A major cause of stroke is the build-up of plaque in the carotid artery in the neck. In 2008, 133,750 Americans died from stroke.
“If we know that we are at risk for a certain disease, we must do everything we can to fight back,” said Dr. Mendes. “Dancing is an easy and fun way to do that.”
For information on vascular health, visit VascularWeb.org®.
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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 3,550 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at VascularWeb.org®. Follow SVS on Twitter and Facebook.