African American Health

Health care in America is in a state of crisis, adversely affecting almost everyone in one way or another but for the average African American health care is even more problematic.

Due to reasons that have yet to be determined, the typical African American faces a higher incidence of many chronic and debilitating diseases than members of other ethnic groups.  One such illness is cancer.  Statistics on African American health indicate a rate of cancer 10 percent higher than the white population.

Infant mortality rates affect African American health, too, with an increased risk of babies born to African American mothers suffering from low birth rates and early, risky, deliveries than babies of other ethnic groups.  Long-term stress, spanning generations, is suggested as a cause of these two issues leading to the increased infant mortality rate among African Americans.

Another chronic African American health concern is that of diabetes.  Along with Latinos, African Americans are diagnosed with this debilitating disease at almost twice the rate of white Americans.

Cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, is another African American health concern that occurs more frequently in the black population of the United States than it does in the white population.

Immunodeficiency diseases such as AIDS and HIV also occur in higher percentages of the African American population than in the white population of this country.

The causes of the African American health disparities are complex, with personal, environmental, and socioeconomic issues cited as generally accepted contributing factors.  Many African Americans live in poor areas of the country, which contribute to health issues that affect the occupants of these areas.

One very interesting observation relating to African American health care in the United States is based on population.  The number of African American physicians in the US is only about 4 percent while the percentage of African Americans in general is more than 13 percent.  This disparity is often cited as a reason for the limited access to health care that is felt by the African American population in general.

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