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Black History Month: Health Disparities

African Americans have high rates for heart disease and unsafe blood pressures. Researchers say there are societal and economic reasons why.
Credit: kare-11

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The numbers don’t lie. Health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows nearly 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of heart disease. African Americans between the ages of 18-49 are two times as likely to die from heart disease than their white counterparts.  African Americans 35-64 are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than white Americans.

A new analysis from the CDC shows younger African Americans are being diagnosed with and dying from diseases that are typically found in older white Americans. Many researchers believe several societal factors are to blame. ‘Health disparities’ is the term used to label the differences caused by economic and societal factors.

Researchers at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health say African Americans cite many reasons for poor health. Among them: the inability to afford doctor visits, living in areas that lack health centers, living in areas where access to healthy food choices is limited, and being unable to afford medications need to treat ailments.

Take charge of your health!

Access to quality care is certainly an important part of enjoying a healthy life. Personal choices are important too. The CDC says people of all races should follow the ABCS to safeguard their heart health

  • A – take aspirin if your health care provider recommends it
  • B – control your blood pressure with diet, exercise, and medication if necessary
  • C – control your cholesterol with diet, exercise, and medications
  • S – don’t smoke or use vaping products.

Add an E to the list - Enlist a team of people (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, grocery store dieticians, clergy, etc.)  to help make healthy lifestyle choices.

Finally, consider becoming part of the Million Hearts® 2022 project coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The goal of Million Hearts® 2022 is to prevent one million heart attacks or stokes by 2022. The program’s website has useful information and resources to help people made positive changes to their lifestyle.

Know Your Numbers - Health disparities

This information is provided by Health Fair 11 as part of its Know Your Numbers Campaign.  Health Fair 11 is a non-profit organization that operates with the support of KARE 11 TV and UCare. Learn more at www.HealthFair11.org. To find out how your organization can become an official Health Fair 11 sponsor, email healthfair@kare11.com .

Resources used for this article

Center for Disease Control and Prevention  - 

Million Hearts ® 2022