Heart Disease Is a Top Killer of Virgin Islanders

Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition (Submitted logo)

February is Heart Health Month. This is a perfect time to raise awareness of the importance of caring for one’s heart and to sound the alarm about the devastating impact of heart disease on Virgin Islanders – especially those suffering from high blood pressure. To help address this problem, VI Health & Wellness Coaching LLC has partnered with Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition to launch a healthy heart campaign – “Let’s Get to the Heart of the Matter.”

According to the USVI Department of Health, a leading cause of death for Virgin Islanders is heart disease. Most recent data show that 12 percent of all deaths are related to heart disease. Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions, with the most common being coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attack.

A major risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure – a condition that is prevalent among Virgin Islanders. Other risk factors for heart disease are high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol use, all factors that can be addressed through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.

The VI Health & Wellness Coaching/ Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition campaign urges Virgin Islanders who have high blood pressure or hypertension (especially women) to unapologetically prioritize and protect their heart health by adapting healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating healthy, engaging in physical activity and reducing stress.

Most importantly, the campaign encourages Virgin Islanders to take their blood pressure on a daily basis and to write those numbers down. Doing so allows patients to share home readings with providers and to better understand their blood pressure triggers and trends over time.

VI Health and Wellness Coaching

Sommer Sibilly-Brown, executive director of the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition, said, “I am excited about our partnership with VI Health and Wellness Coaching. It offers us a great opportunity to couple our work around healthy food access to chronic disease prevention and control in the territory.”

To launch the campaign, the partnership will donate 1,000 blood pressure/blood sugar tracking logs to entities throughout the territory for them to distribute to their clientele at no charge. Logs will be donated to:

    • Caribbean Kidney Center
    • Frederiksted Health Center
    • Herbert Grigg Home for the Elderly
    • Thomas East End Medical Center
    • The VI Department of Health
    • The VI Bureau of Corrections
    • The Village
    • Myrah Keating Smith Comm. Health Center

The log donation to the territory was made possible through a sponsorship gift from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President’s Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation.

For more information or to join the campaign, contact Vanessa Farrell at Vfararell@vihealthcoaching.com.