The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Two Reasons Why Black People Are Living Longer Than Before

African American senior couple

At last, researchers have found a narrowing gap in one racial disparity, and it has to do with health. Yes, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, blacks are living longer, narrowing the life span difference that has existed between blacks and whites.

Changing statistics

The life expectancy of Americans has risen to 79 years, but that number has always been lower for blacks. Although the difference still exists, it has diminished from the previous 6 years to under 4 years. But why?

Reason #1 - Although researchers don't know for certain, they feel confident that the reasons may be linked to lowering rates of death from heart disease, cancer and HIV. Although death from these diseases are going down for everyone, they are declining faster among blacks. The New England Journal of Medicine believes the reason may be better access to medical treatments. The CDC also notes that there are clear declines in deaths, particularly among black men, from HIV, cancer, heart disease and accidental injuries, versus white men.

Reason #2 - Another reason may be due to the successful results of health campaigns that are designed to educate African Americans about health. For example, one organization called the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN), has been very successful in helping to educate African American men across the country about prostate cancer and encouraging them to get tested early.

But not all good news...

Although there is no one clear reason, the overall result is very good for African Americans. However, the CDC also points out that death rates are actually rising for blacks in the areas of Alzheimer's disease, aortic aneurysm, high blood pressure and pregnancy complications.

For more details, visit www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155566.html
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