STEP 7 36 Despite steady improvement in the overall health of the U.S. population, African Americans experience the highest rates of mortality from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and HIV/AIDS among all other U.S. racial or ethnic groups. The reasons for these health status disparities are complex and poorly understood, but may largely reflect differences in socioeconomic status, health related risk factors, environmental degradation, as well as direct and indirect consequences of discrimination. Access Better Healthcare Common Barriers to Equal Access to Healthcare ■■ Lack of healthcare insurance: Lack of health coverage has consequences for uninsured individuals, the healthcare system, and society as a whole. The uninsured are more likely to encounter difficulty obtaining care and use fewer health care services. Many of the uninsured go without needed primary and preventive care that may avert a serious health crisis. ■■ Geographic: The location of the healthcare provider is often a barrier. In urban settings, a person may have to take two buses and the subway to get to her doctor. People living in rural communities may have to travel several miles to a larger town to get appropriate care. ■■ Language and culture: Effective communication can be difficult if the language and/or culture of the patient and the healthcare provider are different. ■■ Low Health Literacy: Understanding medical terminology can be intimidating for some people. Take the time to read educational brochures that you run across. They will help increase your health literacy, and guide you in understanding which questions to ask. It is important to become an active partner with your doctor. Ask questions until you get satisfactory answers. Remember, the best doctors are only human, so the more you understand your own condition, the better equipped you will be to help manage it. Some people are fearful of doctors and healthcare establishments. In some cases, the fear stems from the re-telling of stories about negative experiences (real and imagined) of other people. You should not assume that your experiences will mirror those of your parents or grandparents. Trusting in God’s almighty power and love for his children allows us to overcome our fears about what might happen to us.
P750-A 7 Steps to a Healthy Heart
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