Imperial Valley Press

7 health issues that affect minority groups


Strides continuall­y are being been made to remove racial, ethnic and gender barriers. However, in regard to health and medicine, race and ethnicity are important categories that must be considered when assessing public health.

Certain groups are more vulnerable to particular illnesses than others. The following are seven medical conditions that affect certain minority groups at a higher rate.

1. Cardiovasc­ular disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The risk for heart disease and stroke is 33% higher for Black Americans than the overall population. In addition, American Indians and Native Alaskans die from heart disease much earlier than is typical, according to the American Heart Associatio­n.

2. Obesity

The American Heart Associatio­n says Black American women and Mexican-American women have higher rates of obesity than Caucasian women. Obesity can be the gateway for other health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

3. Mental health

The CDC reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the mental health of some racial and ethnic minority groups relative to that of non-Hispanic white people.

4. Sickle cell disease

The Food and Drug Administra­tion reports that the chronic sickle cell disease affects Black and Hispanic people at higher rates than others — one in 365 people and one in 16,300 people, respective­ly. Bone marrow treatment is the only option and is usually only performed on patients age 16 and younger. That is why early diagnosis is key.

5. Alcoholism

Native Americans/Alaskans have higher rates of lifetime alcohol use, indicates American Addiction Centers. Alcoholism breeds many health issues, not the least of which is liver disease.

6. HIV

The CDC says that, out of every race and ethnicity, Black people are the most affected by HIV. Lack of access to treatment may compound issues concerning HIV.

7. Diabetes

Hispanics are about 50% more likely to die from diabetes than Caucasians. Counseling on weight control can help reduce risk.

Race and ethnicity affect disease risk, and recognitio­n of that fact on the part of various minority groups can save lives.

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