Understanding 4 Health Issues That Disproportionately Affect Minority Populations
- Lupus – African-American Females
Lupus and other rheumatic diseases have been found to be much more common in African-American females than in any other segment of the US population. The incidence rate for lupus among African-American women is nearly three times higher than it is for white women, according to a survey done in Georgia.
Currently, the reason for the increased prevalence of lupus among African-American females is unknown – and remains a mystery to researchers who are studying this autoimmune disease.
The most comprehensive study on lupus and its effects on minority populations were performed by the LUMINA project. The findings of the group suggested that certain genetic factors found in African-American women can pair with environmental and socioeconomic factors, causing a higher risk of contracting lupus-related autoimmune diseases.
There is currently no known cure for lupus, though immunosuppressive drugs like corticosteroids have been shown to improve the quality of life for those who suffer from this disease.
- Diabetes – Hispanics And Native Americans
Diabetes is a huge issue for all Americans – but Hispanic and Native American populations are the most severely affected by diabetes. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Mexican-Americans have an 87% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and Puerto Ricans have a 94% higher risk of developing the disease.
Native Americans are also heavily impacted by diabetes. American Indians are 2.2 times more likely to develop diabetes, compared to non-Hispanic whites.
According to a recent study in Diabetes Care, researchers found that poor glycemic management, low rates of diabetes awareness, and lack of health coverage and the inability to regularly see doctors were all contributing factors in Hispanic populations with type 2 diabetes.
These findings hold true among Native Americans, too – and money is at the heart of these problems. 28.3% of all American Indians and Alaskan natives live below the federal poverty line, as do 21% of all people of Hispanic descent living in the US.
Because Hispanic and Native American populations are poor, they lack access to the health care, food, and information required to avoid diabetes – resulting in extremely high risks of developing the disease.
Understand The Health Challenges Minorities Face – And Do Your Part To Help!
Whether you’re interested in volunteering to raise awareness about lupus, sickle cell disease, diabetes, or obesity, there are plenty of things you can do to get involved.
First and foremost, take a look at the National Minority Health Month website, and see how you can get involved this April. You can learn about resources available to minority populations, and find valuable flyers, posters, and pamphlets that you can use in your hospital, clinic, or practice to raise awareness of minority health issues.
Learn. Take action. Spread the word. By doing so, you can help increase health equity – and encourage better health outcomes for people of every single race and ethnicity.