Minority Health Concerns

Top Minority Concerns

Many health conditions affect minorities at higher rates than other groups. Early detection can help reduce these percentages and decrease illnesses. Routine doctor visits, eating healthy and staying active are good ways to live a healthy lifestyle.

Below are some of the top concerns among diverse populations. Learn more about these conditions, including how to prevent them from happening.

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A sudden, terrible headache – the worst ever had – may be a sign of a bleed in the brain and is very dangerous.

If any of these symptoms happen, call 911 immediately and request to be taken to the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital.


Balance off/dizzy
Ask the person if they are experiencing sudden loss of balance or coordination.


Ask the person if they have experienced sudden blurred vision, double vision or sudden persistent vision trouble.


Face drooping
Ask the person to smile. If the face droops on one side, that is a sign of a stroke.


Arm weakness
Ask the person to raise both arms If they cannot hold one arm up, that is a sign of a stroke.


Speech difficulty
Ask the person to say a few easy words. If their speech is slurred or you cannot understand what they are trying to say, that is a sign of a stroke.


Time to call 911
Time is very important. The sooner you get to the hospital, the better your chances are for improving or getting better. If you wait too long, you may get worse or may not get better.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and the number one preventable cause of disability in South Carolina.

Here are a few things you can do for stroke prevention:

  • Maintain a healthy weight and eat healthy foods
  • Maintaining a good blood pressure prevents strokes
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol or don’t drink at all

Did you know?

  • African-Americans are more impacted by stroke than any other racial group within the American population.
  • Stroke prevalence is projected to increase the most among Hispanic men between now and 2030.
  • Hispanics are less likely than whites or blacks to know stroke warning signs.


Although cancer incidence and mortality overall are declining in all racial/ethnic groups in the United States, certain groups continue to be at increased risk of developing or dying from particular cancers. Regular screening tests may find breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers early, when treatment is likely to have the best results.

Some key cancer incidence and mortality disparities among U.S. racial/ethnic groups include:

  • African Americans have higher death rates than all other groups for many, although not all, cancer types.
  • African American women are much more likely than white women to die of breast cancer.
  • African Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to die of prostate cancer and nearly twice as likely to die of stomach cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer incidence is higher in African Americans than in whites. Incidence in all groups is declining, but the difference between the groups remains.
  • Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native women have higher rates of cervical cancer than women of other racial/ethnic groups; African American women have the highest rates of death from the disease.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives have the highest rates of liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives have higher death rates from kidney cancer than people of other racial/ethnic groups.
  • Both the incidence of lung cancer and death rates from the disease are higher in African American men than in men of other racial/ethnic groups.
Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference in preventing cancer.
  • Don’t use tobacco
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active
  • Protect yourself from the sun
  • Get regular medical screenings


Minorities have a higher prevalence of diabetes than whites, and some minorities have higher rates of diabetes-related complications and death. Identifying disparities is a first step toward understanding what causes them and what can be done to reduce them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), more than 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes. Are you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes?

  • Do you have a mother, father, sister and/or brother with diabetes?
  • Do you get little to no exercise in a typical day?
  • Are you overweight or obese?
  • If you’re a woman, have you ever been diagnosed with gestational diabetes?
  • Are you 45 years of age or older?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be at risk. The good news is we can help you prevent further progression toward the disease with our Diabetes Prevention Program. Learn more about this free program and to see if you are eligible. As always, health concerns should be discussed with your primary care physician.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for minorities. Many heart issues can “run in the family.” If you have a family history of heart disease, it is important to let your doctor know. Physical activity is a great way to prevent heart disease and reduce stress. A diet that is low in sodium, saturated and trans fat is very good for the heart.

If you think you are experiencing a heart attack call 911! Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
Heart Attack Warning Signs

Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. This can occur with or before chest discomfort.

Sweating. If you begin to sweat profusely with no temperature changes, this can be a sign a heart attack is imminent.

Heartburn or indigestion. According to the American Heart Association, many patients delay seeking treatment for heart attack because they believe they are experience indigestion. If you have pain that radiates up the esophagus, seek emergency medical treatment.

Nausea. Intense and sudden waves of nausea can accompany a heart attack.

Dizziness. Dizziness or double vision is another heart attack symptom that often occurs prior to pain.

Feelings of weakness or anxiety. Difficulty concentrating or feelings of weakness, particularly those that occur suddenly, also are signs of a heart attack.

Fluttering heartbeat. A heart rate that feels unsteady or like it is fluttering, or the feeling that your pulse is racing also can signal a heart attack.

Not all Heart Attacks are the Same

Females, and sometimes the elderly, do not show the classic heart attack signs. Women often complain of vague pain in the lower back along with indigestion. Any pain or discomfort in the torso combine with nausea should be taken seriously.

Heart attack symptoms in women can be different and include the following:

  • Pressure, fullness, squeezing pain in the center of the chest spreading to the neck, and shoulder or jaw pain
  • Chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
  • Upper abdominal pressure or discomfort
  • Lower chest discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea