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Closing the Gap in Health Disparities of African Americans

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Closing the Gap in Health Disparities of African Americans
Rosie Vasser
Grand Canyon University
Closing the Gap in Health Disparities of African Americans
Historically speaking African Americans have had harder access to healthcare due to a number of socioeconomic reasons. Many are unable to even get to a facility. When thinking about poverty in America one must associate African Americans with poorer health, less access to medical care and higher risk factors than others. Stressors alone within this group places them at higher risk for hypertension, smoking, diabetes, etc. Lower income limits the availability to healthier food and quality healthcare. AA persistent struggle to achieve the American dreams translates to their persistent struggles with health. The dominate society generational connection to wealth, affords them the ability to access the best in healthcare. AA has very limited access to quality healthcare. According to Eileen M. Crimmins, Mark D. Hayward, and Teresa E. Seeman (2004), “People who are poorer and who have less education are more likely to suffer from diseases, to experience loss of functioning, to be cognitively and physically impaired, and to experience higher mortality rates” (2004), This essay will compare and contrast the health status of the African American minority group and compare to the national average. We will discuss the current health status of this minority group, how health promotion is defined by African Americans, and what health disparities exist for the group.
Compare and Contrast Health Status of African Americans
According to Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey, 2014, 14% of African Americans under the age of 65 is uninsured. This in itself is one of the main reason this group has poor health. Without health insurance most individuals avoid going to the doctor or hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. This group finds themselves choosing to avoid high medical bills and debt, thus allowing their health to deteriorate. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Black or African American Non-Hispanic population 37.9% of men and 57.6% of women over 20 years old are obese. 39.9% of men and 44.5% of women over the age of 20 have high blood pressure and/or are taking antihypertensive medication (CDC/National Center for Health Statistics, 2016). There are five major long-term diseases that affect individuals. They are cancer, low respiratory diseases such as COPD, hypertension, stroke and diabetes. Three of the listed conditions are highly prevalent in the African American culture. With treatment and prevention measures in place these conditions can be treated and controlled. This of course requires regular doctor visits, which many African Americans either cannot afford or will not seek.
Diabetes is more likely to affect the African American community than Caucasians. With that being the case blacks are more likely to suffer from renal disease. Diabetes also has a higher risk of amputations. This disease is related to poor food choices and lack of exercise. African Americans are 60% more likely to suffer a stroke than Caucasian men and women.

Health Promotion
Health promotion in African Americans is frowned upon. Many African Americans avoid healthcare either from lack of knowledge, lack of finances, or fear. Many remember the negative history of African Americans. For instance, many remember the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, an experiment that was conducted without the informed consent of the individuals involved. Although a lot has changed many people are still leery of the practices of doctors.
Health Disparities. Health disparities negatively affect individuals who have repeatedly experienced difficulties in health based on their racial or ethnic group. This also includes religion, sexual orientation, etc. unhealthy behaviors and lack of knowledge adds to this groups disparities. Providing individuals with more information concerning their healthcare and helping them to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle would help to decrease disparities. For instance, providing community resources to individuals on the importance of healthy eating to decrease the chances of diabetes helps to reduce individuals that develop the disease. Secondary prevention would include performing lab test for the presence of diabetes. For instance, testing a patient A1C for a baseline blood glucose level. Discussing these results with the patient and help them to understand the importance of controlling their glucose level. Setting up scheduled check-ups to monitor the patients is important.
References
Health of Black or African American non-Hispanic Population. (2016, February 10). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf
Health Promotion and the African American Community. (2016). Retrieved from http://minoritynurse.com/health-promotion-and-the-african-american-community/
National Research Council (US) Panel on Race, Ethnicity, and Health in Later Life; Eileen M. Crimmins, Mark D. Hayward, and Teresa E. Seeman. Critical Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health in Late Life. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2004. 9, Race/Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status, and Health. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK25526…...

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