Shaq has a new project that close to his heart – and everyone’s heart, for that matter. The Big Man has been enlisted by a group working to get the word out about heart health, and especially heart health for African Americans.
In an interview with NBC’s Dr. Shamard Charles, Shaq said he was surprised to hear the numbers – five and a half million Americans are affected by heart failure in one form or another every year…with a disproportionate number of those cases affecting the African American community.
Also on the interview, Cardiologist Dr. Elizabeth Ofili. She reports how clinical studies show African Americans having a higher risk of getting heart disease, but that’s not all. She says the problem is complicated by what she called a lack of awareness and a lack of access to treatment. That’s why she reached out to Shaq for help in spreading the word.
To watch the interview for yourself, check it out here: https://www.nbcnews.com/now/video/shaq-talks-heart-health-61807685729
Statistics show that heart disease is still the number one killer in America. Dr. Ofili says that’s true across the entire American population…so the advice to have regular checkups is important. Her work with Shaq is to spread that word even more powerfully in the African American community.
For himself, Shaq says he recognizes the need to have a regular visit to his physician and have all his health-stats fully checked out. Shaq says he remains very healthy, yet even as he’s “getting a little older,” he sees the need to be more connected to his health.
Dr. Ofili says there are several well-documented risk factors for heart disease and related conditions. She says the challenge is getting people to find out for themselves – with their doctors’ help – if they have any of those risk factors, and what can be done to best manage them.
Shaq says he wants to be a voice and spokesperson for this effort to reach out to the African American community. “It’s serious stuff, and we need to take it very seriously,” he said. Shaq says his new friend Dr. Ofili, “Uses a lot of big words. I take those in and break them down” for his fans and friends. In fact, Shaq is lending his bigger-than-life persona to a new website to help people learn about heart failure and related diseases. Check it out at www.ShaqGetsReal.com. There are resources there for both medical professionals and us regular people, too.