The health disparity I chose was sickle cell anemia. I think it is so prevalent among African Americans because of genetics. Sickle cell anemia is a group of disorders that affects the hemoglobin molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. People with this disorder have atypical hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape. More than two million Americans carry the sickle cell trait. The condition occurs in about one in five hundred black or African American births. Sickle cell anemia is most common in people whose families come from Africa, South or Central America (especially Panama), Caribbean islands, Mediterranean countries (such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy), India, and Saudi Arabia. In the United States, it’s estimated that sickle cell anemia affects 70,000–100,000 people, mainly African Americans. The reason why sickle cell seem to be more common in blacks is due to the fact that those geographic regions are most prone to malaria and the gene variant for sickle cell disease is related to malaria.
I believe that race, genetics and health have a lot in common. All three of these things have an influence on our risk that we will acquire a specific disease or heath condition. In the article “How Race becomes Biology: Embodiment of Social Inequalities” on the section with epidemiologist it is mentioned that there is a lot of evidence of health inequalities among racially defined groups in many societies. I took that to mean that some diseases depend of the racial group. Some diseases are more common in one race than another due to genetics. Race is important because although any race can carry the sickle cell trait this condition is most common in African Americans. Genetics is important for this disease because sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the b globin gene. Genetics increases or decreases the risk of sickle cell based off of an individual family history. Having this genetic disease leads to the individual health outcome
“Sickle Cell Disease”. Race-Health connections. http://www.understandingrace.org/humvar/sickle_01.html Accessed on July 8, 2014
“Sickle Cell Disease” Genetics Home Reference. . last modified on August 2012. Accessed on July 8, 2014 http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/sickle-cell-disease