Did you know April is Minority Health Awareness Month? That’s why we’re raising awareness about some of the health issues most prevalent in minority communities.
Among African Americans, there are a few health conditions that continue to threaten lives, but by being aware of these issues and taking the right measures, families can live healthier lives and beat the statistics.
In this article, we will explore the three most prevalent health conditions among African Americans.
One of the most prevalent conditions affecting all Americans today is heart disease, the most common issue being heart attacks. But according to the CDC, African Americans from ages 18-49 are twice as likely to die from heart disease as White Americans.
Moreover, the CDC also finds that African Americans from ages 35-64 are 50% more likely to have higher blood pressure compared to Caucasians. What this means is that African Americans with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of having heart disease later on in life.
Moreover, roughly 55% of African American adults, according to the American Heart Association, have high blood pressure. The fact that African Americans also have statistically higher rates of high blood pressure only compounds the threat of heart disease.
Unfortunately, since most people only get their blood pressure screened during appointments, elevated levels can remain unknown until it’s too late.
Thankfully, there are several lifestyle factors that can be managed to reduce the likelihood of heart disease. Some of the most significant contributing factors to heart disease, according to the CDC, are as follows:
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating an unhealthy diet
- Drinking alcohol
- Not being physically active
For patients with elevated blood pressure, a provider can help develop a treatment plan to help reduce the risk of future heart disease. These treatment plans can be lifestyle changes and even medication if needed.
Topic: Another health condition prevalent among African American communities is diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational. According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 is the most common form of diabetes—accounting for an estimated 90-95% of cases.
The CDC has found the most common symptoms associated with diabetes to be the following:
- Frequent urination
- Constant thirst
- Losing weight without trying
- Dry skin
- Slow healing sores
In addition to these symptoms, there are even diabetic symptoms unique to each type, such as vomiting with type 1 or no symptoms as common with gestational diabetes. Any concerns about blood sugar levels especially if there are risk factors present consulting with a doctor is advised.
Although African Americans are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, there is hope in the possibility of minimizing potential risk factors. Developing healthier habits like staying active, consuming a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep can all decrease the risk among African Americans.
Another prominent health condition among African American communities are strokes. In fact, the Office of Minority Health finds that African Americans are 50% more likely to have a stroke compared to White Americans.
One of the primary contributing factors that makes strokes more prevalent among African American communities is poor diet. What we put in our bodies on a daily basis plays a major a role in several of the most common stroke-related risk factors.
According to the American Stroke Association, about two-thirds of African Americans experience at least one of the following risk factors associated with strokes:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
As common as strokes may be, it is possible to reduce the risk of having one! The American Heart Association has concluded that 80% of strokes can be prevented by making lifestyle changes. These changes include adopting a healthier diet, managing stress better, exercising, and eliminating unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking.
We Can Help
MCR Health is dedicated to making health care accessible to everyone. As April is Minority Health Awareness Month, we would like to invite minority groups to reflect on their health and take action today.
Beat the statistics by making those lifestyle changes and schedule an appointment with us today!