Health Stigmas in the Black Community

African Americans often make light of physical health risks by claiming “this is just how it is.” But what if we become more informed and have meaningful conversations about our health? Going vegan is cool, but what about the older generations who are battling life threatening conditions? African Americans need to get serious about black health and figure out how we can create a healthier generation.

Minorities are more likely to struggle with health issues than non-Hispanic whites. According to the American Diabetes Association, the African American community is disproportionately affected by diabetes. Every 17 seconds in the United States, someone is diagnosed. Blacks, however, are diagnosed 1.7 times more than non-Hispanic whites.

African Americans having the highest number of diagnosis has led to economic stress on the health care system. In 2007, diabetes accounted for $218 billion direct and indirect costs. Most of the burden is related to developed complications like blindness, heart attack and stroke.

African Americans are also disproportionately diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure. Genetic and social factors, such as financial inequality and discrimination, can be reasons for why it is so common for blacks. Risk factors of high blood pressure can include diabetes, increase in age, and obesity.

As we continue to live our fast-paced lives in America, let us be conscious to what we put in our bodies. Not only can this affect our physical appearance, but also our mental health. We, as the black community, can transform the stigmas of black health one treatment at a time.

Kayla Cash is a freshman at Howard University currently majoring in civil engineering. She is from Jacksonville, Florida. She strives to be valuable in any career field ranging from filmmaking and engineering. Kayla Cash is the epitome of a renaissance woman.