Shaquille O’Neal Heart Failure
Shaquille O’Neal is set to take the stage to address heart failure awareness among African Americans during a special keynote presentation at the 23rd annual HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting this month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although O’Neal does not have heart failure himself, he recognized the need for greater awareness about heart health and heart failure throughout the African American community.
“Since the African American community faces a higher risk of (heart failure), I feel like it is my mission to try to help my community better understand and manage the condition,” said O’Neal.
Research suggests that African Americans may be up to 20 times more likely than Caucasian Americans to develop heart failure before the age of 50.1 African Americans are hospitalized for heart failure more often than Caucasians.3,4
“We’re honored to have Shaquille O’Neal join us in our mission to reduce the burden of heart failure and bring awareness of the condition to diverse populations,” said Randall Starling, MD, MPH, FHFSA, President of the Heart Failure Society of America. “Shaq is a star on the court and in the broadcast studio, and he is using that star to shine a light on this critical issue.”
Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart’s muscle gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body’s needs. The heart can either become weak and unable to pump blood (systolic heart failure) or become stiff and unable to fill with blood adequately (diastolic heart failure). Ultimately, both conditions lead to retention of extra fluid or congestion.
O’Neal recently launched, ‘Shaquille Gets Real About Heart Failure.’ An awareness campaign in partnership with Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a U.S.-based specialty pharmaceutical company. The campaign is part of an initiative designed to raise awareness around the heart failure disparity in the African American community nationwide.