More About Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
As overall groups, more minority/multicultural populations develop serious illnesses and/or die earlier from them than other U.S. populations. These conditions are called racial and ethnic health disparities (health disparities). Since Health Power gives highest priority to educating and motivating minority populations to live longer healthier lives, we use more basic language than many doctors and other health professionals do.
We also call racial and ethnic health disparities “Our Major Killers and Disablers” because they cause much more illness, disability and early (or premature) death in multicultural populations than in the nation’s white populations. Just click below to get information about either of them.
There is also important information after the list regarding key lifestyles, health practices and conditions that contribute to the existence of racial and ethnic health disparities.
If one understands these diseases and adopts appropriate lifestyles and health practices, they can often be either:
- prevented, or
- detected early, when there is the greatest possibility of control.
Fortunately, even if an individual develops one or more of these Major Killers and Disablers, with early detection and effective control, it is often possible to prevent or significantly delay disease progression.
Key Factors Contributing to Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
1. Low Priority of Preventive Care (generally) because of:
- competing priorities for many, such as employment, food, shelter, and feeling (or preferably) being loved.
- scarcity of culturally relevant health information
- denial of vulnerability
- delays in seeking care, thus delayed diagnosis and treatment
- decreased access to high quality care
2. Lack of Health Insurance, or Underinsurance (for many)
The close correlation between health status and poverty, worldwide, is well established. It is not surprising that many multicultural populations, in the face of unemployment, limited financial resources, and/or reliance on Medicaid or Medicare coverage, have little or no interest in focusing on disease prevention when they do not feel sick, or can put it off. Further, some managed care providers significantly limit their benefits/coverage associated with preventive care.
3. Inadequate Number of Multicultural Health Professionals
It is well documented that health professionals of color are more likely to practice in their communities than others. Thus, there is a need to significantly increase the number of multicultural health professionals, a need that has been widely recognized for many years.
4. Key reasons for health disparities in minority populations
- decreased awareness, overall, of lifestyles and health practices which decrease the risk of developing cancer
- denial of early warning signals
- delays in seeking care, when spread (or metastasis) has not occurred, and less radical therapy is necessary.
- decreased access to high quality care
- a greater distrust of the health or medical establishment (The negative impact of the Tuskegee Study as well as other studies and experiences by multicultural populations have had a long-lasting effect. Only time and positive change by the health establishment can further decrease those effects)
Health Power is committed to providing information which helps to reverse the situations above which contribute so much to excess illness, disability, and early death in multicultural populations.
5. Key risk factors and warning signals for health disparties
We provide key risk factors and warning signals for various health disparities so that individuals at risk and individuals with key warning signals will see a doctor without delay unless they and their doctor have already established a diagnosis, the individual is receiving good care, and his or her medical status is being monitored on a regular basis. By better informing yourself and taking the appropriate actions, you will be better able to protect yourself and those you love from unnecessary disease and early death.
6. Checklists to assess and monitor your health.
Many checklists are provided in the "Our Major Killers and Disablers Channel" to help you: (1) assess your own situation, (2) follow-up on things you need to, like family history, (3) learn what you don't know by reading that again, (4) check off what you need to do something about in order to change those risk factors that you can change, and (5) monitor your progress as you take the necessary actions for prevention, early detection and control.
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