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Health & Wellness

National Minority Health Month: Are You at Risk?

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Sometimes, it takes a tough conversation to take action.

It’s not always easy to talk about health risks, especially when some of those risks are beyond our control.

The fact is some diseases affect different groups disproportionately and these health disparities are, quite frankly, upsetting. A health disparity is the name given to preventable factors that impact people’s health, often related to historical, social, or environmental inequalities. They may relate to ethnicity, geographic location, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, among others.

Despite these larger forces, there are ways to help take your health into your own hands, and that can include learning the facts, assessing your own risks, and making an appointment with your doctor for a physical to discuss any concerns.

In honor of National Minority Health Month, we took a closer look at a few numbers everyone – and particularly African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Hispanic Americans, and Pacific Islanders – should know so they can be their own best health advocate. We believe knowledge is power, and awareness can fuel prevention.  

Read on to educate and empower yourself to stay active and healthy.

Hispanic Americans

  • Certain types of cancers may affect Hispanic men and women more than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. This disparity may sometimes be due to delayed diagnosis.
  • Hispanic Americans are 1.7 times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Hispanic women are 30 percent more likely than non-Hispanic women to have a stroke.

African Americans

  • African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any ethnic group for all cancers combined.
  • African American adults are 40 percent more likely than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to have high blood pressure.
  • African American men are twice as likely than their white adult counterparts to have a stroke.

Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders

  • Asian/Pacific Islander men and women have more than two times the rates of liver and Intrahepatic Bile Duct cancer as the non-Hispanic white population. They are also twice as likely to die from stomach cancer.
  • Chronic liver disease is a leading cause of death for Asian Americans, and Asian American men have the highest rates of liver cancer compared to most other ethnic groups.
  • Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders have higher rates of obesity, hypertension, and cigarette smoking, all of which increase the risk for stroke. In 2010, they were four times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to die from a stroke.

American Indians/Alaska Natives

  • American Indians/Alaska Native men and women are more than twice as likely than non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with chronic liver disease.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives are more than twice as likely than non-Hispanic white counterparts to be diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Obesity and high blood pressure, both of which are factors for higher rates of heart disease, are more likely in American Indians/Alaska Natives compared to white adults.

The numbers are staggering, but there are actions you can take to help reduce your risk. Talk to your doctor and start taking steps toward prevention. Encourage your friends and family to do the same, and together, we can work to reduce health disparities.

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