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5 Common Health Conditions That Affect Hispanic Communities
07/22/2022

 

At AdventHealth, we seek to understand the whole picture of every patient’s health to provide the most personalized care possible. Genetics and environment make each unique ethnic group in the United States more vulnerable to specific medical conditions.

We’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 through October 15) and want to remind everyone that by being aware of our health risks, we’re more equipped to look for early signs of illness and seek appropriate care while we highlight some of the most common conditions that affect our Hispanic communities.

Breaking Barriers to Health Care

The vibrant and varied cultures within our Hispanic communities represent 18.4% of the U.S. total population. According to the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau population estimate, there are currently 60.5 million Hispanic people living in the United States, which is any person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin.

As we celebrate the diverse and powerful influence of our Hispanic communities on our society and culture, let’s also explore and confront the health challenges they most frequently face, including barriers to health care that directly impact their health outcomes.

According to Dr. Alric Simmonds, AdventHealth Chief Health Equity Officer, any preventable difference in the burden of disease, injury or in opportunities to achieve optimal health is a health disparity. These disparities can affect racial, ethnic and other population groups and communities due to language barriers, where one lives, socioeconomic status and insurance coverage, with Hispanics having the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group within the U.S.

Details such as these influence an individual’s experience of health care, including whether they will actively seek necessary care for health challenges. At AdventHealth, we understand these impacts and support each patient as a unique individual, working to remove any obstacles on the path toward better health.

Common Health Conditions Hispanic Americans Face

Chronic Liver Disease

Hispanics have a higher risk of developing some liver diseases. Having a higher risk of alcoholism, obesity and exposure to hepatitis B and C are some possible causes. Ways to keep your liver healthy are eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol intake, avoiding toxins and seeing your primary care provider at least once a year for an annual checkup.

COVID-19

For several reasons, Hispanic people have been impacted more by COVID-19 — including experiencing a greater severity of disease, accounting for 41% of COVID-19-related deaths in 2020. Many individuals work essential jobs that can’t be done remotely. 

Hispanic families are also more likely to have multigenerational households, where people who work essential jobs can’t isolate themselves from their family members. This makes it more likely for the virus to be transmitted to relatives who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 complications due to their age or underlying health conditions.

Diabetes

The increased risk of diabetes in Hispanic communities is influenced by genetics since it can be hereditary. Diet also increases the risk of diabetes, and many traditional Hispanic foods are high in fat and carbohydrates. Obesity is another risk factor common in the Hispanic community that impacts the development and progression of diabetes.

Higher obesity rates, economic factors, lack of health insurance and language barriers that may prevent diabetic Hispanic patients from seeking care make them more prone to diabetes complications as well, including kidney and eye diseases.

High Blood Pressure

Nearly 1 in 4 Hispanic people has high blood pressure, which can be a precursor to a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or heart failure. Hispanic patients are also more likely to have high blood pressure that’s poorly controlled.

Genetics can also play a role in whether or not a person will develop high blood pressure. You can actively aim to lower your blood pressure by eating a low-salt diet, lessening alcohol consumption and not smoking.

Obesity

Hispanic Americans are 1.2 times as likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white Americans. Since obesity can lead to other health challenges such as diabetes, it’s important to address it with your health care provider. Eating a balanced diet and exercising often can help keep you at a healthier weight, even when genetics is a factor.

We Celebrate Every Patient

We celebrate our Hispanic communities and cultures and encourage everyone to be aware of their health risks and to make preventive health care a priority with primary care. At AdventHealth, we empower all patients to experience wholeness — in body, mind and spirit. Call the Member Experience Center at 855-747-7476 and let us help you find an exceptional health care provider near you!

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