Over the past month, I have learned of or been near a man that has died due to health related concerns. That’s right: Health issues. Not gun violence. Not overdosing on alcohol or drugs. No car accident or even old-age natural causes. Health concerns. As a matter of fact, they were all under 60 and successful in their careers. Mr. Mark England, a nationally recognized Fashion Designer, who died from lymphoma, Dr. E.Delbert Gray, a businessman and college professor, who suffered a massive heart attack and Mr. Angelo Henderson, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist, who passed from complications after major surgery, have all rocked the Detroit community.
African – American men have unique concerns to deal with in comparison to their white counterparts. They include:
Pancreatitis: African Americans males between 35 - 64 are 10 times more at risk of developing pancreatitis than any other group.
Advice: Black men with pancreatitis should avoid high fat foods. This includes fried foods, most desserts, and whole milk dairy products, fatty cuts of meats, nuts/seeds, and avocado. Also, they should limit fats like butter, salad dressings, sour cream, and mayonnaise, and foods with added sugar, like desserts and sweetened beverages. Alcoholic beverages should also be avoided.
African American men should include grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meats (like fish, skinless poultry, and eggs), beans, and low fat dairy products in their diet.
The health risk for African Americans and African American men in particular are daunting!
- Diabetes is 60% more common in black Americans than in white Americans.
- African-Americans are three times more likely to die of asthma than white Americans.
- Deaths from lung scarring -- sarcoidosis -- are 16 times more common among blacks than among whites.
- Despite lower tobacco exposure, black men are 50% more likely than white men to get lung cancer.
- Strokes kill 4 times more 35 to 54 year-old black Americans than white Americans, with nearly twice the first-time stroke risk of whites.
- Nearly 42% of black men aged 20 and older have high blood pressure and
while cancer treatment is equally successful for all races, black men have a 40% higher cancer death rate than white men.
This dismal report is enough to have African American men and the women in their lives (meaning their mother, significant other, aunts, sisters and daughter) paying much closer attention to signs of distress.
Research shows that black men suffer far worse health than any other racial group in America, and there are a number of reasons for this. They include racial discrimination, a lack of affordable health services, poor health education, cultural barriers, poverty, employment that does not carry health insurance, insufficient medical and/or social services that cater to black men.
In the end, there is no replacement for screenings for early detection, exercise, and diets filled with plenty of fruits and vegetables.