As a learning issue for my IPS session today, I was supposed to come prepared to share Hispanic disease prevalence and disease risk factors. It was actually difficult to find an organized list of what diseases Hispanics are likely to get. Here is my synopsis of what I found and links for further follow up. I hope it’s a decent resource.
First, though, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention that it is difficult to define what the term Hispanic actually entails. As a fairly culturally-ignorant non-Hispanic white person, I tend to think of anyone from Mexico or South America as Hispanic. I actually have no idea what the official definition is. I do know, however, that the term Hispanic as most people see it covers an extremely diverse group, with lineages that mix European Caucasians and indigenous Americans and Africans. It’s a pretty big melting pot. For this reason, there aren’t a lot of genetic diseases that Hispanics are unusually susceptible to.
With that disclaimer, here are some of the more important diseases that affect Hispanic Americans, with comparisons to non-Hispanic whites.
· Hispanics are twice as likely non-Hispanic whites to develop diabetes
· Percentage of people diagnosed with diabetes over the age of 20
· Hispanic males are 3 times as likely to contract HIV than non-Hispanic males.
· Hispanic females are 5 times as likely to contract HIV than non-Hispanic females.
· Less likely to drink alcohol then non-Hispanic whites, but those that do drink are more likely to binge drink and become alcohol dependent
· White Hispanic men have the highest rate of alcohol related cirrhosis
· Immigration poses serious emotional challenges, which include marginalization and discrimination
· Hispanics generally rely on family and church as coping strategies for mental health problems and are thus less likely to seek professional care for this illness
· Since many Hispanics in America are immigrants from developing countries, they are much more likely to experience cancers of the stomach, liver, and cervix. These are all related to infectious diseases that are not seen or are better controlled in the US.
· Of all cancers that Hispanic females get, they are most likely to contract breast cancer. But they are actually 27% less likely than non-Hispanic whites to do so.
· Hispanic males are most likely to get prostate cancer, but they are 12% less likely than non-Hispanic white males to get it.
· See http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@nho/documents/document/ffhispanicslatinos20092011.pdf
· Hispanic women are just as likely to develop osteoporosis as non-Hispanic whites.
Protective factors about being Hispanic
o Hispanics are less likely to smoke than any other group except for Asian Americans. 15.8% of Hispanics smoke compared to 22% of non-Hispanic whites.
· Heart Disease
o Hispanics are 20% less likely to have heart disease than non-Hispanic whites.
o Women are 20% more likely to have a stroke than other groups, but men are less likely
· Although Hispanics may or may not be more likely to develop certain diseases, they are less likely to get treatment for them
o HIV -- Hispanics are six times above the national average in terms of HIV-related deaths, although they are only about 3 times as likely to contract HIV.
o Asthma -- Hispanics are twice as likely to die from asthma than non-Hispanic whites
o Immunizations -- Hispanics are less likely to receive immunizations than non-Hispanic whites