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African American Women Health Issues

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In the U.S., every February is Black History Month. In school, I remember this month as the time when I grew acquainted with historical figures and events that touched my life as an African American woman even to this day. So now would also be a very good time to determine just what the plight of the African American woman is when it comes to health issues.

Truth be told, it seems that some health risks are more of a problem with certain racial groups than others. This is the case with African American women as well. For instance, when it comes to HIV/AIDS cases, The National Council of Negro Women reported that African American women account for upwards of 50 percent of the numbers reported. Also, even though African American women are less likely to get cancer after the age of 40, they are more likely to die of this disease.

The same source reported two more interesting points. First, women of this racial group have a very high rate of obesity. Obesity is a health problem that increases the risk of getting other diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers. And second, when it comes to fibroids, African American women are three times more likely to get fibroids than other women. Within this group, fibroids seem to appear at a younger age, grow more quickly and more than likely have symptoms. If the particular woman is overweight then this problem may be aggravated even more so.

This is not a total list of all the health issues that face this group, but it certainly touches on a few that have some of the most devastating outcomes. Experts agree that the disparity may exist because of poor access to health care, poverty, fear or distrust of the medical system and even because of different belief systems.

So what is being done to improve the health status of African American women? For one, there are many health campaigns that provide accessible, quick and easy advice for every type of individual – those who are pregnant, the smoker trying to quit, HIV/AIDS education for the sexually active and even victims of domestic violence.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.