As communities begin to grapple with their long and filthy history with inequality and disparities, doctors, health workers and a growing number of policy makers Considering the impact of racism on health—also lots key body to the point of calling it public health crisisIt’s not just rhetoric: a new study is showing the potentially lethal effects of systemic racism.
Preliminary research that analyzed responses from more than 48,000 people enrolled in the Black Women’s Health Study found that those who reported experiencing some type of racial discrimination had a higher rate of heart disease over 22 years. The findings were presented March 1 at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions.
“Structural racism is real. both in work in the study situation and in interactions with the criminal justice system,” said Michelle Albert, president of the American Heart Association and author of the study. press release“Now we have a lot of data linking cardiovascular outcomes. This means that we, as a society, need to work on the barriers that perpetuate structural racism.”
Studying black women’s health is not new. in fact Researchers have followed nearly 60,000 people since 1995, when they Postal questionnaire to members of essence magazines and members of a few professional organizations. Health Study websiteThe aim was to track these women over time and gather information about their health.
This information will help researchers answer some questions about black women’s health, such as why young black women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than younger white women. Why do black women get lupus? and why black babies are more likely to be born prematurely. in black women?”
Studies over the past two decades suggest that this is the case. Stress can be divided into acute and chronic types. While the acute stress from rushing to meet deadlines can negatively affect your health and sleep. Chronic stress such as racism In the long term, for example, those who report experiencing racial discrimination may be exacerbated. They tend to have shorter telomeres.which are capital letters that protect chromosomes and are indicators of cellular aging. The shortened telomere vice versa. is associated with a shorter lifespanThis means that racism can take a toll on an old person’s body and cause serious injury.
But some conditions, such as heart disease, were never tracked over time. and linked to perceptions of racism. Shan Shan Shi HeeThe Boston University epidemiologist who led the research told The Daily Beast in an email. In this preliminary study, Sheehy and co-authors analyzed responses to eight survey questions sent to black women’s health study participants. in 1997. They then tracked the health of respondents through 2019 to see who had heart disease. Both serious and not serious
Nearly 2,000 of the participants had heart disease over the past 22 years, leading the researchers to agree that they agree with statements such as “People act as if they’re afraid of you” or “You get worse service than everyone else. at restaurants or shops” more often than those who didn’t.
interesting is Answering a question aimed at measuring everyday interpersonal racism, like the two above, was not linked to black women’s risk of heart disease. This may be because the impact of racism on a daily basis could be mitigated by coping mechanisms such as talking to friends, Sheehee said.
But looking at the answers to the questions meant to measure perceptions of racism in jobs, housing and interactions with the police is a different story. Black women who reported racism in these aspects of their lives were 26 percent more likely to develop heart disease than women who did not report racism.
“The consequences of being treated unfairly in the workplace, living quarters and by the police are difficult to resolve by talking to friends,” she added.
There are many factors to consider when interpreting these statistics. For one thing, the women in this study were all compared. There’s no telling whether there might be a significant difference in heart disease risk from day-to-day experiences of racism between individuals. if these participants were compared to white women, for example
In addition, this study did not measure structural patterns of discrimination, such as repetition, survey responses. “There is no way to capture existing racism other than consciously acknowledging it,” Sheehy said, although she added that future research using data from the Black Women’s Health Study aims to include measures. Structural racism too
Ultimately, Sheehy says the findings are simple: “Racism has a real impact on black women’s heart health.”