Study shows younger African Americans sick with diseases that tend to affect older white people

Younger African Americans are more likely to have conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes that among white people tend not to show up until much later in life

Younger African Americans are more likely to have conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes that among white people tend not to show up until much later in life, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among the study’s findings:

  • African Americans from ages 18 to 49 are twice as likely to die from heart disease than their white counterparts
  • African Americans ages 35 to 64 are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure.
  • Blacks have the highest death rate for all cancers combined compared with whites.

“Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to the gap in health differences between African Americans and whites,” the CDC concluded in the 2017 study that used data from 1999 to 2015.

Risk factors such as high blood pressure, which can contribute to heart failure, may go unnoticed and untreated among younger African Americans, the CDC said. Factors such as high poverty can limit access to health care, early diagnosis and treatments that can contribute to longer, healthier lives.

Among African Americans, 19% between the ages of 18 and 34 could not see a health care provider because of cost. The proportion was similar in those 35 to 49 and 50 to 64, the CDC said. Among whites, the percentage was 15%, dropping to 12% for those ages 50 to 64.

Inactivity and obesity also affected higher proportions of Blacks than whites.

Juneteenth Jubilee Wellness Fair

Norton Healthcare will host a wellness fair at the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park on Saturday, June 19, from noon to 3 p.m. with key health and wellness services at no cost. The fair also will have information about job opportunities. Juneteenth Wellness Fair

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Vicki L. Owczarzak, M.D.

Vicki L. Owczarzak, M.D., is a pediatric otolaryngologist at Norton Children’s ENT & Audiology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, and an assistant professor at the medical school.

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