One of the benefits of practicing medicine in the African-American community is hearing many funny stories affecting patients who provide entertainment about their health concerns.
One of my patients wanted to be checked for heart disease and relayed to me that one of his friends died at an early age. He was quite upset that his friend did not live long enough to receive his first Social Security check.
I gave his concern some thought and concluded that he made an interesting point. Too many black males die early because they have not taken the proper measures to decrease the risk of dying before the age of 62. This is the earliest age at which they can start receiving their Social Security check (or wait until the age of 65).
New studies reveal that half of adult men have a medical problem requiring medical attention. Hypertension and diabetes, two common conditions, affect African Americans at a disproportionate rate. And both contribute to heart disease, which we also suffer in greater numbers.
Perhaps you are wondering why I am interested in discussing this issue. I am a black man and am subject to the same barriers in life as are other black men.
I am Thaddeus John Bell, M.D., closing the gap in health disparities for African Americans and the underserved.