There are many reasons why some Americans experience different health issues from others. These reasons could be something hard to address, such as genetics, but that reason should never be due to lack of healthcare.
14% of Black adults in the US do not have health insurance1.
19% of Black males and 12% of Black females over the age of 18 smoke1.
38% of Black males and 55% of Black females over the age of 20 are obese1.
56% of Black males and 57% of Black females over the age of 20 have hypertension (high blood pressure)1.
20% of Black adults over the age of 18 are in fair to poor health1.
The good news is the mortality rate of Black Americans in the United States has been on a steady decline since 19992. This could be due to many changing circumstances such as more employment opportunities, better healthcare availability, or simply people monitoring their health and seeing a doctor more regularly.
The bad news is that there is still a big gap in healthcare where Black Americans are concerned. Black Americans are still dying from health issues that white Americans are surviving. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more Americans than ever before have access to the healthcare they need, so hopefully we will see the decline continue at a stronger rate.
Some illnesses seeing a steady decline of mortality among Black Americans are3:
- Heart disease
However, there are certain health issues that affect Black Americans more than the white population. Some of these ailments are also, surprisingly, affecting Black Americans at a younger age3:
- High blood pressure
- Peripheral Artery Disease
- Sickle Cell Disease
The best way to continue to see the decline in mortality among Black Americans is to take control of your health. You can do that by:
- Eating well
- Exercising regularly
- Seeing your doctor at least once a year for a physical along with blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure screenings
- Age-appropriate exams such as mammograms and colonoscopies
- And most importantly, talk about how you are feeling.
Something small like regular headaches or muscle pain can be signs of more serious problems. Talk to your doctor or even just friends and family about what you are feeling. Addressing those issues will bring health conditions to your attention faster and can ultimately save your life.