Health + Wellness

5 Health Conditions Black Folks Commonly Face As They Get Older

health conditions

As we age, health challenges are just a part of life. 

However, for Black folks, the journey into older adulthood may be a little different. Research has consistently shown that the Black community is affected by more prevalent and severe diseases than other races. But don’t let that get you down! Addressing these health conditions does not have to be rocket science. With both awareness and proactive lifestyle changes, healthy aging is not just possible – it’s probable. 

Here are five health conditions you may face as you age, as well as some strategies to address them.

1. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be a big problem for the Black community. In fact, higher rates of kidney failure can quickly progress to end-stage renal disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black Americans are almost four times more likely than white Americans to develop kidney failure. Perhaps not surprisingly, Black Americans comprise roughly 35 percent of all people in the U.S. on dialysis or needing a kidney transplant.

With CKD, it’s crucial to manage blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The best way to do this is by changing your diet. First off, reduce sodium and eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You want to especially limit phosphorus and potassium-rich foods to keep your kidney function up. And finally, don’t forget to get regular monitoring of kidney function (and take any prescribed meds). 

2. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Did you know the Black Community has a significantly higher prevalence of CAD compared to white people? Or that Black folks have nearly 50 percent higher mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases? Scary, huh? Well here’s the good news. Despite these more severe forms of disease and higher rates of heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke, there’s a lot you can do!

See, with coronary artery disease, it’s all about preventing or addressing the narrowing of your blood vessels. After all, it’s these vessels that supply the heart. Lifestyle modifications are, again, very critical. The first thing to do is adopt a heart-healthy diet. That means, cutting back on saturated fats and cholesterol. Eat more skinless poultry and fish like salmon or trout. Incorporate almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds. Use herbs and spices, not high-sodium seasonings. 

And don’t forget (of course) regular exercise! Quitting smoking and even glucose monitoring for diabetes – a common risk factor for CAD – are also very important. 

RELATED: Glow in Your Golden Years: 7 Secrets to Healthy Aging

3. Type 2 Diabetes

According to CDC data, roughly 12 percent of Black adults are diagnosed with diabetes compared to 7.5 percent of whites. Complications from the disease are also more prevalent among Black folks, meaning kidney disease, limb amputations, and

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