Black Health: The Increased Need To Look After Ourselves
This week has been an interesting week with a bizarre and unintentional focus on health and how some of us tend deal with our personal health; from conversations with the girls regarding annual health checks, to a discussion with my dad about health due diligence to me attending an event hosted by Black History Walks about our foot health.
Personally, past experience with my health has made me realise the importance of self managing ones health by self assessments ei. checking moles, for lumps, rashes, etc, learning up on the science behind long standing health issues (I suffer from from a mild sensorineural hearing loss, allergic rhinitis and everything else associated with allergies), to reading medication booklets to understand more about the medication prescribed, the risk posed and its suitability - trust me this is actually a very important thing to do since I once was prescribed medication that would agitated one of my long standing ailments!
While GP's may have our interests at heart, I've found they are more useful when you come to them with some idea as to what might be wrong with you, I know that sounds crazy but it has shown me the importance of learning a thing or two about your health and health risks.
This is something this week has drummed home to me that we must all be accountable for our personal health and be aware of particular factors that potentially put us at risk such as our age, gender, family history, lifestyle and more importantly our ethnicity!
The event I attend this week was on foot health and was taken by two Chiropodists, while I have heard of Chiropody as a branch of medicine I was clueless as to what they did or how you go about accessing them; I assumed they could help me out with an pain in my foot I'm having but never thought they could be better then my local beautician at massaging my feet and keeping them soft and supple. As well as this I learnt lots of really interesting facts such as, one quarter of all bones in the body are located in our feet, that women are 4 times more likely to suffer from foot problems than men and that asides from carrying us around and being squeezed into cute shoes out feet can also indicate specific health issues such as diabetes.
Diabetes can actually have devastating affects on the health of our feet which was drummed in by the gory picture presentation though being black I'm actually 4 times more likely then my white counterparts to develop diabetes which made the presentation just that little bit more important for me to take in; my being a woman also puts me at risk of suffering from foot problems though dispite the likelihood of me needing to see a chiropodist in the future I was until this event unaware of the services they provide as well as general foot care preventives.
This is why one must take their health into their own hands since the factors that put us at risk will vary from person to person, gender to gender and more importantly race to race. As a woman the health issues that are specific to my gender are generally well publicised so are those that are impartial to gender though when it comes to my race things get tricky. Being black their are many diseases I’m at lower risk of getting such as some of the 'common' cancers though I'm at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes then my white counterpart yet this information doesn't seemed to be shared as freely. There are specific illnesses that are more prevalent in black people such as sickle-cell anaemia yet many of us are unaware we maybe dormant carriers.
Also not many black people realise that that our skin colour protects us from sun damage thus lowering our risk of developing melanoma skin cancer though acral lengtiginous melanoma another type of skin cancer is more common in black people; while its not said to be linked to sun exposure it is still as fatal and was the type of cancer that killed world famous reggae artist Bob Marley, yet who's heard of it?
Medicine and health is just another area and industry that is racially exclusive, while the information is their very little is often done to get the message across to those that are in need of it, well not until its too late, which is why I commend Black History Walks for organising such a important and useful event that specifically promotes black health issues.
For further info on black health do check the links below also if you would be interested in attending this black health event or similar do check the Black History Walks website and sign up for event updates, see link below.
Useful Info Links:
70,000 black and South Asian people in UK unaware they have diabetes
Diseases and Different Ethnic Groups