Public Release: 

Hispanics urged to take charge of their heart health

ACP introduces 'Guide to a Healthy Heart for Latinos'

American College of Physicians

PHILADELPHIA - (November 3, 2005) Heart disease and stroke account for nearly 30 percent of all deaths among Hispanic Americans per year. In addition, high blood pressure affects about one in five Hispanics in the United States. The American College of Physicians (ACP) created "Guide to a Healthy Heart for Latinos," a program geared towards combating these statistics and explaining the role blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight control have on long-term health. Supported by an educational grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., the program is available to the public on-line at the ACP website

"Guide to a Healthy Heart for Latinos" is a culturally relevant heart health education program featuring a DVD and guidebook for patients, that aims to educate Hispanics about positive health behaviors and empowers them to talk to their doctors about their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar numbers to assure they are in a healthy range. The program features well known Latin celebrities, Rita Moreno and Esai Morales, whose lives have been affected in one way or another by heart disease.

By sharing their personal experiences on the "Guide to a Healthy Heart for Latinos" program, these celebrities are issuing a call-to-action for the Hispanic community to become more aware of heart health. The program also features internal medicine physicians, motivational personal stories and practical tools to help track information and ensure productive dialogue among patients and health care professionals.

Heart disease and stroke rank as the number one cause of death among Hispanic Americans. Age, heredity, tobacco smoke, physical inactivity, obesity and weight issues, high blood pressure and cholesterol all play a role as well. In fact, more than 65 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure, yet many don't know it.

"Hispanics are more likely to be overweight and diabetic which are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other health problems," said Oscar Murillo, MD, FACP, internal medicine specialist at Hanover General Hospital in Pennsylvania, and a featured physician appearing on the video. "As a Hispanic physician, I see a critical need to teach patients, in their own language, why they should know their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and give them the power to communicate with their doctors about heart health by giving them the knowledge and understanding they need."

The video and accompanying guidebook offer numerous tips and practical tools for:

  • Working with a physician or health care provider;
  • Managing blood pressure and cholesterol;
  • Controlling weight, and
  • Following a healthy lifestyle.

A workbook area in the guidebook provides suggested questions to ask the doctor, a chart to record current medications, and a Body Mass Index chart to calculate body fat percentage.

For more information or to view the guide book and video, consumers can visit the website


About the ACP
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is the largest medical-specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 119,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, medical students, residents and fellows. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults, reflected in the organization's trademarked phrase "Doctors of Internal Medicine. Doctors for Adults.®"

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