Health Threats


Lifestyle Team

Release Date

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Heart disease, a leading killer, frequently culminates in heart attacks which occur when the heart's supply of oxygen-rich blood is
drastically diminished or cut off because of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries. Besides advising heart patients to lose weight, avoid stressful situations and smoking, doctors also prescribe medicines that improve the heart's blood supply and reduce oxygen demands.

Stroke often signals an already existing condition that affects blood flow to the brain. If that flow stops, brain cells lose their only energy source and begin to die. The result is a stroke. Certain rare blood diseases, inherited disorders, and birth defects can also cause stroke.

Cancer, despite medical science's significant advances in therapy which have resulted in drastically improved survival rates, is still a major health problem among Blacks as well as Whites. Until such time that the disease has been eradicated, doctors stress that early detection, which dramatically increases the chances for successful treatment, is still the most effective anti-cancer weapon. Symptons of common cancers include:

Lung'Coughs that linger indefinitely; coughing up blood; shortness of breath.

Breast'Lump in the breast; change in breast shape; discharge from the nipple.

Colon and rectum'Changes in bowel habits, bleeding from the rectum; blood in the stool which appears bright red or black.

Prostate (men)'Difficulty or pain while urinating; the need to urinate often, especially at night.

Uterus, ovary, and cervix (women)'Bleeding after menopause, unusual vaginal discharge, abdomen enlargement, pain during intercourse.

Skin'Sores that do not heal; sudden appearance of a mole; changes in shape, size or color of a wart or mole.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition which results when the heart pumps blood through the circulatory system with a force that is much greater than necessary to maintain a steady flow. It is the largest single contributor to stroke and a major contributor to heart disease and kidney failure. One positive aspect of the disease is that, if discovered early, it can be controlled without medication through diet (giving up salt-rich foods), weight reduction and change to a less stressful lifestyle.

Cirrhosis, a degenerative liver disease most often caused by chronic alcohol abuse or chronic viral hepatitis, is the fourth leading cause of death in the 45-65 age group in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Diabetes, a disorder which prevents the body from converting foods properly into the energy it needs, triggers run down feelings, increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, skin infections, itching, and slow-healing cuts and bruises. While incurable, diabetes is controllable through a careful blend of diet, exercise, prescribed medication and, if necessary, insulin injections.

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is making alarming inroads in the Black community. If current mortality rates continue, AIDS will become one of five leading causes of death among women of reproductive age in the black community.

To address these health problems, Blacks need preventive medicine and education. At an early age, Blacks should be taught the dangers of too much salt in their diet and the bad effects of smoking and drug abuse. Exercise, by whatever method chosen, is important. Also, weight watching.

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