African- Americans are now statistically living longer and stronger lives as a result of education and seeking healthcare. The internet has afforded opportunities to learn about the health care challenges that are faced both short and long term. Although African-Americans are showing a decline in death rates, there are still many opportunities for improved health outcomes.
The goals that are currently in focus include:
· Programs to reduce disparities among African-Americans when compared to other races.
· Decreasing the barriers to health care for both simple and chronic illnesses resulting in positive opportunities for improved health.
· Community care functions, organizations and social gatherings to promote health and wellness in African-American communities.
· Providing additional training and guidance to health care providers to lessen barriers and promote wholistic care based on cultural differences.
African-Americans still face the challenges with illnesses early in life and can have positive health care outcomes if health care is sought early on. This can start with the basics in learning how to effectively communicate with your healthcare provider. During the initial visit it is important to have your family’s health care background and understanding what illnesses have impacted the family. Considerations for discussion with the healthcare provider include:
· What illnesses, problems, or diagnoses have had an effect on immediate family members, such as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles (i.e. High blood pressure, Diabetes, Mental/Behavioral Health concerns, Cardiovascular issues such as stroke, and heart attack).
· Asking questions about wellness exams that one must have to ensure good health.
· Recommended health follow up (yearly, every 6 months).
· Medications ( this should include prescriptions, over the counter, and herbal medications).
· Asking about diet and exercise to improve health outcomes.
African- Americans are in a powerful role to have great health care outcomes by becoming educated about illness afflictions and ways to promote positive health. In using the simple guidelines above, opportunities for wholistic and healthy lifestyles can prevent long term issues.
Yvette Glenn is the owner of Tree of Live: Health and Life Coaching for Women. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.