While I am not an African American I do care for many of them where I work at. Some of the issues that my residents face are because they did not take good care for their selves. Taking preventive actions can help lower the risk of life threatening diseases and chronic debilitating illnesses. Among the many health issues are:
Cardiovascular Disease is the #1 killer of African Americans. High blood pressure in African Americans is the highest in the world. This is also known as hypertension. High blood pressure increases risk of heart disease and stroke. Permanent damage to the heart can be done before one even notices any problems. Thus the nickname the "silent killer" High Blood pressure in African Americans also develops earlier than in those other race. Family history influences many health related issues including this one. While nothing can be done about hereditary but life style changes and medication can be defined. The most important thing is to frequently check your blood pressure to keep on top of it.
Diabetes goes hand in hand with cardiovascular disease. Around 2.3 million African Americans have diabetes. Still 33% are not aware of this issue. Obesity is an issue that often faces African Americans. This also plays an impact to developing diabetes. Diabetes is both treatable and preventable. Knowing early warning signs is the key to the issue. Many avoid seeking treatment because of the unknown. All they know about diabetes is older relatives that may have had the disease and were diagnosed too late and suffered issues such as blindness, amputations or renal failure. Along with being aware of ones own health is practicing regular exercise. Exercise will also help with blood pressure. A good 30 minutes of walking a day will get the heart rate up and help with the health.
Another health issue that African Americans face is vitamin D deficiency. This issue has a lot to do with hereditary again. The question of whether this is true or not actually has its own issues. To much vitamin D leads to abnormal heart rhythms, blood vessel damage and kidney stones. Not enough vitamin D can result in low bone density, symptoms of osteoporosis and increased fracture risk . Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with cancer, autoimmune diseases and systemic lupus.
African Americans have been hit hard by HIV. The African American community is hit harder than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S. A larger portion of this community gets AIDS diagnoses and has HIV related deaths. The African American diagnosed with HIV often does not live as long as other groups either. According to the CDC AIDS is the leading cause of death in African Americans. Women seem to be hit the hardest. With more awareness this number can be lowered. Sex practices and medications after being diagnosed are very important. Nearly half of all diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are African Americans.
Early Deaths due to any disease or illness can be reduced with annual physical exams, nutritional counseling and talking and listening between doctor and patient.