An Urgent Cry for the Great Black Detox
Over the last 200 years, African Americans have struggled for social, economic, and political equality. Although we have made an abundant amount of progress in society, black people are still suffering. Health is a reflection of the quality of life a person lives, yet the health of black people is deteriorating. The consistent disparities in the health outcomes of black people show that African Americans are suffering from the worst medical conditions with higher instances and mortality of life-threatening conditions. African Americans are dying young and our health is our biggest killer.
Black Diseases and Health Disparities
Communities of color are being plagued with diseases at higher rates than any other race. Diseases and conditions like cancer, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, fibroids, and heart disease are so prominent in the black community, they are beginning to be seen as “black diseases”. These conditions affect all aspects of black health from physical, mental, and reproductive.
Currently, the leading causes of death in black communities are heart disease and cancer. African Americans have the highest mortality rate in all cancers compared to other races. Breast cancer for example kills more black women than white women even though white women have significantly higher diagnosis rates in the disease. Incidences of colorectal cancer in African Americans were 18% higher than in whites during 2012-2016, while mortality was 38% higher during the same period.
80% of African American Women are overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to serious health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even death. This means that 80% of black women are at risk of developing a serious health condition or dying from one. Black women are also more likely to develop serious reproductive conditions like fibroids, cyst, endometriosis, and PCOS.
Over 50% of black men and women over the age of 20 have hypertension, meaning over half of all black people in the US are at risk of a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and heart failure.
Black infants have a mortality rate that is almost twice the national average showing that black babies are twice as likely to die at birth than other races. From birth to death African Americans are at risk of adverse health outcomes.
How Did We Get Here?
An important question is how did we get here? Societal, environmental, and lifestyle factors all play a role in the current health status of the black community.
Years of systematic oppression have left communities of color disenfranchised in every way. Institutionalized racism has corrupted the medical industry that is meant to protect us. The US medical institution itself is founded on the exploitation of black bodies. African Americans have been experimented on throughout history and in modern times, doctors still consistently show an implicit bias toward black patients. Black patients are more likely to be dismissed by doctors who often do not believe the severity of their pain.
Oftentimes seeing a doctor is not even an option for many African Americans. Poverty among black neighborhoods also plays a major factor in the health outcomes of black people. Poor quality education creates a lack of awareness about health conditions that may be facing these communities. This makes them much less likely to seek treatment for health issues, in fact, black people are more likely to not seek treatment for a health condition compared to white people. Even if African Americans wanted to seek treatment, the lack of access to health facilities and affordable healthcare in their communities can lead to sick people not being able to seek or afford treatment. In 2017, the number of African Americans without medical insurance was almost double that of white Americans. The food desert that plagues low-income communities of color leaves a lot of black people with few healthy options to nurture their bodies.
The environment that we currently live in is extremely toxic. There are toxins in the products we use, the food we eat, the air we breathe, and even in the water we drink. When these toxins can range from excess hormones, carcinogens, and also fat. When these toxins accumulate in the body it weakens the immune system and leaves African Americans predisposed to developing many of the health conditions mentioned.
Most importantly, there are lifestyle factors that largely contribute to disease and death for African Americans. Tobacco use, alcohol use, minimal physical activity or sedentary behaviors, and UV radiation can all negatively affect the body’s immune system and make African Americans more vulnerable to developing “black diseases. Highly processed foods have no nutritional value to our bodies and can even fill our bodies with more toxins.
Failures in Allopathic Medicine
With all these conditions that negatively impact African Americans, medical treatment is usually sought out, however many allopathic treatment options such as prescription drugs or surgery only treat the symptoms and not the root cause of these conditions. Sometimes they even run risks of additional side effects. This creates a cycle in which you are never fully cured and constantly reliant on further treatment. These types of medicine focus only on managing the issues, and treating peripheral symptoms, rather than preventing it all together.
For example, often women suffering from PCOS are prescribed birth control, however, birth control doesn’t cure PCOS, it merely treats symptoms like heavy bleeding, irregular periods, and cramps. Other treatment options such as a hysterectomy or myomectomy also don’t treat the root cause of the issue and both options can lead to unwanted side effects like acne, mood swing, menopause, and infertility. Outcomes like this are quite common with other medical conditions as well.
Taking Back our Health
In most cases, African Americans have higher instances of adverse health outcomes and higher mortality rates as a result of them. This is a pandemic that is wiping out communities of color and the time for black people to reclaim their health is now. It’s time for us to stop relying on allopathic methods of treatment and move toward holistic healing. electric Health has taken this approach in developing the Great Black Detox. Our goal at electric Health is to eliminate all toxins from communities of color. The GBD is more than just a detox, it’s a movement created for people of color to heal their mind, body, and spirit.