Five Health Issues Affecting Hispanic Men

By: Ashmar Mandou

There are numerous health disparities affecting Hispanic men across the country and in honor of Men’s Health awareness month, we at Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper with the help of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), compiled the top five health issues plaguing men today.

1. Heart disease:
One of the health issues affecting Hispanic men is that of heart disease.
The American Heart Association states 33.4 percent of Mexican-American men have cardiovascular disease, but overall, Hispanics are still approximately 20 percent less likely to develop heart disease compared to non-Hispanic whites. High rates of inactivity, obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes all contribute to the risk for heart disease.

2. Cancer:
Cancer is the leading cause of death for Hispanics in the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimates 112,800 Hispanics were diagnosed with cancer, and more than 33,000 died from the disease in 2012 alone. Lung cancer is the primary lethal cancer in Hispanic men, and is responsible for 18 percent of cancer-related deaths. Prostate cancer, however, is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among this group, though when caught early, prostate cancers are considered easily treated.
Overall, a report from the journal Cancer indicates Hispanic men have a 40.6 percent chance of developing some form of cancer in their lifetimes.

3. Diabetes:
The Office of Minority Health indicates Hispanics, overall, are 1.7 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes. Hispanic men, while less likely to be obese compared to Hispanic women, are more likely to seek treatment for end-stage renal disease (271.8 per 100,000 population compared to 205.8 per 100,000 population) and are more likely to die from diabetes (22.7 per 100,000) compared to their female counterparts (15.0 per 100,000). Diabetes is most prevalent among Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans.

4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases:
Chronic lower respiratory disease is composed primarily of three major respiratory ailments: asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Tobacco smoke is one of the primary factors contributing to these diseases, accounting for 80 percent of emphysema cases alone. Approximately 20 percent of Hispanic men smoke tobacco, according to the American Lung Association, almost twice as much than Hispanic women.

In the case of asthma, genetics tend to play an important role in approximately 30-50 percent of cases, with external irritants complicating the condition. While people of all ethnicities live in polluted areas, minorities and individuals with low incomes are more likely to be exposed to high concentrations of dangerous particles in air pollution. Hispanic men are more likely to work in factory settings, exposing them to dangerous chemicals and pollutants.

5. Stroke:
According to the most recent data from the American Stroke Association, 2.8 percent of Hispanic adults have had a stroke. Among Hispanic men in the U.S., Mexican Americans have higher cumulative incidence for ischemic stroke at younger ages compared to other demographic sub-groups and ethnicities, and also have a higher incidence of intracerebral hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Hispanic men in general are more likely to die from a stroke (30.9) compared to Hispanic women (28.0).

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthWhy are these health issues affecting Hispanic men?
A number of barriers exist for Hispanics in general, not just men, but in addition to language barriers, poverty, and a lack of access to health care and insurance, Hispanic men are just as unlikely as Hispanic women to seek care immediately. Outreach programs which educate the Hispanic population about common health concerns are critical to Hispanics reducing health disparities, and this is particularly true for men.

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