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Category: Organ Specific Testing
It's important for all people to regularly get blood tests to ensure well-being, particularly for demographics with risk factors. While everyone should utilize blood testing services to check for any underlying medical conditions, some populations may want to get screened for diseases more often than others. For example, individuals who have a history of heart disease, cancer or diabetes in their family should get tested often. Furthermore, minority women may also want to consider getting blood tests and medical screenings more often, since cardiovascular issues are common among this population.
According to a recent article published by ABC News, heart disease is the number one killer of minority women. This may have to do with this population not getting enough important blood tests that could look for high cholesterol and other health issues that could affect the heart.
An all too common problem
The news source profiled a woman named Eva Gomez, who wasn't concerned when her doctor told her she had a heart murmur since she was in her early 20s and in good health. She thought that a little heart murmur was no big deal, and simply went on with the rest of her life. However, when she returned to the doctor 13 years later, this small problem had turned into heart palpitations and high blood pressure. After a number of blood tests and other screenings, it was revealed that Gomez had a malfunctioning heart valve, which caused blood to back up into her heart. If it had been left untreated, the valve may have burst and killed her.
"As a registered nurse, I had a professional awareness but I will say this much - Latina women don't think this can happen to them," Gomez told ABC News.
According to the news source, Gomez points out a serious issue among minority women. Compared to Caucasian women, this population is 66 percent less likely to be aware of the risks and symptoms of heart disease. ABC was citing a study published in the journal Medical Care, which found that even when minority women are aware of these risks, they often don't take the steps to mitigate them.
There are a number of reasons why minority women have an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular problems. For example, more than 80 percent of African-American and 70 percent of Hispanic women are overweight or obese, which is compared to 50 percent of white women, stated ABC, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is often associated with an increased risk of heart disease, so these statistics could help explain why minority women have these additional problems.
ABC also spoke to Malissa Wood, M.D., a cardiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, who explained that language barriers can also make it difficult for some minority women to trust and understand what healthcare providers are telling them. Furthermore, Hispanic dishes tend to be fried or contain a lot of cheese or other dairy, potentially leading to health problems when part of a regular diet.
The news source also talked to Paula Johnson, M.D. the chief of women's health for Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who called for greater prevention efforts.
"There needs to be a stepped-up effort in research that includes a focus on minority women in a robust way," Johnson told ABC. "There's still a significant knowledge gap of their underlying risks and how to decrease those risks."
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, minority women continue to lag about five years behind white women in life expectancy. For example, in 2003 white women lived an average of 80.5 years on average, while African American women only lived to be 76. Clearly, more needs to be done to ensure the health of this population.
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