Protecting your future health means identifying your personal risk factors, including racial and ethnic background. This is because some diseases disproportionately affect certain ethnic or racial groups, like sickle cell in blacks and breast cancer in Eastern European, Jewish women. The more educated you are about your individual risk, the better equipped you are to prevent and fight disease.
During this Black History Month, we want to encourage the members of our community to get educated about their personal risk. Keep reading to learn more about the top diseases that disproportionately affect blacks.
- Sickle Cell Anemia. Nearly 10% of all blacks suffer from sickle cell, but sickle cell isn’t just a disease that disproportionately affects blacks. It affects those of Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean descent, too. This is because the sickle cell mutation is related to malaria, a disease that’s native to these geographic areas.
- Diabetes. Diabetes is 60% more common in blacks than in whites. Serious complications of diabetes, like leg amputation and kidney disease, are also more common in blacks.
- Stroke. Strokes kill 4 times more blacks than whites, and blacks have almost double the risk of stroke than whites.
- Cancer. While cancer treatment is statistically just as effective for blacks than any other racial group, cancer kills blacks more. Black men have a 40% higher cancer mortality rate than white men and black women have 20% higher cancer mortality rate than white women. This may be attributed to a couple factors, but many researchers believe education about prevention, early detection and access to healthcare affects this percentage the most significantly.
- High Blood Pressure. Black men and women develop high blood pressure much earlier than many other racial groups. For example, nearly 42% of black men and 45% of black women have high blood pressure beginning tin their twenties.
It’s important to remember that while genetics do play a big role in risk factors for certain diseases, so do environmental and social factors. Better education about disease risk and prevention, in addition to more accessible healthcare, one of our founding principles, could significantly impact these percentages.
Want to learn more about the link between diseases and education? Visit this link.
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