Health Disparities in the Latino Community

I recently came across two articles that pretty much stated the same thing: Latinos…you’re screwed. I know that isn’t saying much but over time I have heard it, “Latinos have higher rates of (insert disease) and are more likely to die of (insert disease).”

Just recently, helio.com reported, “Liver disease-related mortality rates varied significantly by geographic region in the Untied States with some of the highest rates in the South and the West, in areas with higher Hispanic populations, and areas of lower household income, according to a recently published study.”

In addition, Houston Public Media wrote, “Latinos are less likely to find the bone marrow donation they need to survive a deadly disease like leukemia. That’s spurring efforts in Houston to increase the Latino presence in the bone marrow donor registry.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries (accidents), stroke, and diabetes are some of the leading causes of death among Latinos. Some other health conditions and risk factors that significantly affect Hispanics are: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, HIV/AIDS, obesity, suicide, and liver disease.

So why? Is it access to health insurance? Language barriers? Trust in this political climate? Economic issues? All of the above. I’ve heard stories from people that are one generation (or two) behind me of them traveling to their mother country for any health related issues. You can read one example in this appropriately titled article, “Why I Prefer to Get My Health Care in Latin America.”

So what can we do? What can health care providers do? Essentially this should start at a much higher (macro) level. If access to health care is difficult to the average American, then it can increasingly be more difficult to Spanish-language Americans.

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