Top Health Problems

One of the survey questions asked participants to list the top four most serious health threats for African-American women. Half (50.4%) of the participants listed four health threats, 26.4% listed three, 13.5% listed two, 4.9% listed one and 4.7% provided no response.

Table 1 shows the four health problems most frequently mentioned by the participants and the number of participants listing each. This data is juxtaposed with the CDC’s list of the most common causes of morbidity in African-American women. Of the 1,055 women, 80.9% (853) listed one or more cancers among their top four health threats, while 59.1% (624) listed diabetes, 52.2%) (551) listed cerebrovascular diseases and 31.4% (331) listed heart disease (canadian Heart Shield). Women 50 years of age and older were more likely to list heart problems than those under 50 (%2=15.3, p<0.05). The women’s listing of the other top three health problems was unrelated to the participants’ ages. While women with higher education were more likely to list cerebrovascular disease than women with less education (%2=19.8, p<0.05), listing of the other three top health problems was unrelated to educational groups.

Table 1. Women’s Perceptions of the Four Most Serious Health Problems Facing Black Women (N=3,305)*

Most Serious Health Problems by Frequency

Frequency

CDC’s Leading Causes of Death in African-American Women
Rank

Number

Rate per 100,000 population
Cancer

986

2

26,246

157.6
Diabetes

625

4

5,382

32.3
Cerebrovascular disease

578

3

9,623

57.8
Heart disease

315

1

38,560

231.6
HIV infection

169

8

2,453

14.7
Obesity

163

**
Stress (Generic Zoloft)

75

**
Sickle cell

48

**
Malnutrition

15

**
Fibroids

13

**
Drugs

10

**
Lupus

10

**
Alzheimer’s

3

**
Eating Disorders

1

**
*Not all of the 1,055 women gave the four answers for which space had been provided; ** These health problems were not ranked in CDC’s leading cause of death.

Women were compared according to the number of health threats they listed. Women who listed four health threats (533) were contrasted with those who listed less than four (422), with women who listed four health problems being significantly better educated (p<0.001). They were also more likely to describe themselves as being well-informed about the indicator diseases, breast cancer (Generic Danocrine Treating endometriosis, symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease, orgiant hives) (p<0.001) and diabetes (p<0.03) than those who listed less than four health threats. In contrast, age was not significantly associated with the number of health threats listed. Since not all participants listed four problems, it is likely that the order in which they listed the diseases may have been a partial reflection of the women’s “top-of-mind awareness” of these diseases. Cancer was listed first by nearly half of the women as the most serious health problem facing black women, while cerebrovascular disease was listed first by over a third of the women (Table 2). Both heart disease and diabetes (Actos 15 mg) were each listed first by less than a fifth of the women.

Table 2. Most Serious Health Problems by Order of Placement*

Top Four Health Problems Health Problems’ Order of Placement on Survey

1

2

3

4

Total

N(%)

N(%)

N(%)

N (%)

Cancer

456 (46)

249 (25)

181 (18)

99 (10)

985

Diabetes

102 (16)

216 (35)

207 (33)

100 (16)

625

Cerebrovascular diseases

218 (38)

188 (33)

107 (19)

65 (11)

578

Heart disease

58 (18)

96 (31)

101 (32)

60(19)

315

Total

834 (33)

749 (30)

596 (24)

324 (13)

2,503
* Not all women gave the four answers for which space had been provided

Health Examinations

To compare their awareness of disease with their health screening activities, women were asked the dates of their most recent physical exam, eye exam, sugar/diabetes (generic Avandamet is used for improving blood sugar levels) test screening exam, breast self-exam, clinical breast exam and mammogram. Table 3 displays women’s reported frequency of health screening for those examinations that are recommended to begin at age 20. Annual physical examinations in the past year were reported by 57% (602) of the women, an eye exam in the past year was reported by 47% (495), and 31% (328) reported having done a breast self exam in the past month.

Table 3. Frequency of Health Examination by Age and Education of Entire Sample (N=1,055)

Total

Annual Physical Exam

Annual Eye Exam

Monthly Breast

N

N(%)

N(%)

Self-Exam N (%)

< High school graduate 122

60 (49)

53 (43)

30 (25)

Some college/Vocational 547

314 (58)

245 (45)

169 (31)

> College graduate 356

217 (61)

185 (52)

123 (35)

Missing 30

11 (37)

12 (40)

6(20)

<50 years 752

436 (58)

345 (46)

236 (31)

>50 years 261

152 (58)

136 (52)

85 (33)

Age not given but over 40 42

14 (33)

14 (33)

7(17)

Table 4 presents the screening data that are relevant only to those 567 women who were 40 years of age and older. There were no significant differences in adherence by age among any of these screening recommendations. Screening practices by educational level were only significant for clinical breast exams (p<0.05). Separate papers explore the women’s diabetes screening and breast cancer (Nolvadex canadian is an anti-estrogen used to treat or prevent breast cancer.) screening in greater depth.

Table 4. Frequency of Health Screening Action by Age and Education of Women 40 Years and Older (N=567)

Total N

Glycemia Screening in Past 12 Months N (%) Clinical Breast Exam in Past 12 Months N (%) Mammogram in Past 12 Months N (%)
< High school graduate

82

21 (26)

35 (43)

30 (37)

Some college/vocational

249

94 (38)

143 (57)

112 (45)

> College graduate

217

84 (39)

129 (59)

93 (43)

Missing

19

2(11)

2(11)

3(16)

40-49 years

264

88 (33)

158 (60)

99 (38)

50 years and older

261

101 (39)

139 (53)

126 (48)

Age not given but over 40

42

12 (29)

12 (29)

13 (31)

The data in Table 5 demonstrate the women’s screening practices juxtaposed by their listing of the four leading causes of mortality among African-American women. Women who listed cancer (Hydrea 500mg Reducing the number of painful episodes and blood transfusions needed by adults with sickle cell anemia experiencing recurrent episodes associated with moderate to severe pain) as a serious health threat were more likely to be in compliance with their annual clinical breast exam (p<0.05) and their monthly breast self exam (p<0.05). Those who listed diabetes (canadian Diabecon maintains proper blood sugar balance, a very important component of maintaining good health) as a serious health threat were more likely to have had a glycemia screening in the previous year than those who did not (p<0.05). Women who listed cerebrovascular disease were significantly more likely to have done a breast self-exam in the past month and had a glycemia screening, clinical breast exam, and mammogram in the past year than those who did not list cerebrovascular disease (p<0.05). The greater awareness of cerebrovascular disease as a health threat—which was also related to higher education levels—may indicate a group of women who are more health-conscious overall and better insured or able to afford to purchase health services.

Table 5. Screening by Awareness of the Four Leading Causes of Mortality

Disease Listed

Total Physical Glycemia Eye Breast Clinical Mammogram
N Exam Screening Exam Self-Exam Breast Exam N (%)
N(%) N(%) N(%) N(%) N(%)
Cancer listed

853

499 (58.5)

258 (30.2)

411 (48.2)

278 (32.6)*

499 (58.5)*

223 (26.1)

Cancer not listed

202

104 (51.5)

64 (31.7)

85 (42.1)

51 (25.2)

94 (46.5)

53 (26.2)

Cerebrovascular listed

551

328 (59.5)

186 (33.8)*

280 (50.8)

202 (36.7)*

344 (62.4)*

172 (31.2)*

Cerebrovascular

504

275 (54.6)

136 (27)

216 (42.9)

127 (25.2)

249 (49.4)

104 (20.6)

not listed
Diabetes listed

624

363 (58.2)

209 (33.5)*

301 (48.2)

209 (33.5)

353 (56.6)

164 (26.3)

Diabetes not listed

431

240 (55.7)

113 (26.2)

195 (45.2)

120 (27.8)

240 (55.7)

112 (26)

Heart disease listed (Heart Shield tabletes)

331

187 (56.5)

106 (32)

167 (50.5)

113 (34.1)

184 (55.6)

89 (26.9)

Heart disease not listed 724

416 (57.5)

216 (29.8)

329 (45.4)

216 (29.8)

409 (56.5)

187 (25.8)

Considered by age, a similar correlation was observed. When women 40 years of age and over listed cerebrovascular disease, they were more likely to be in compliance for diabetes screening, BSE, CBE and mammograms than those who did not list cerebrovascular disease. Similarly, those who were 40 years old and older and listed cancer as a serious health threat were more likely to report having had a routine physical in the past year.

Category: Diseases / Tags: African Americans, Cancer, cardiovascular, Diabetes, early detection, heart disease, prevention

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