The health of Americans sadly lags behind compared to other developed countries and is beset by large disparities among ethnic/racial groups. Latest developments in healthcare through research demonstrate that this problem cannot be solved by medical care alone. Health promotion and disease prevention are now the key areas that have proven to deal with the increasing burden of chronic diseases and healthcare disparities among populations (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). Health promotion improves and protects the health of the public including individuals and communities. The population selected for this discussion includes African American males aged 65 years and older. This population is faced with disparities in health that can benefit from health promotion approaches.
Race and ethnicity are socially constructed categories that have a tangible effect on the health of populations and communities. African Americans aged 65 years and older are among the groups faced with health challenges compared to their counterparts. For instance, heart disease is the leading cause of death across race, ethnicity, and gender. African Americans are thrice more likely to die from these diseases compared to whites (Noonan et al., 2016). The socioeconomic status of this population is also far behind other races. About 10.6% of African Americans are uninsured and demonstrate worse outcomes at each level of income or education (Noonan et al., 2016). African Americas receive less income at the same level of education and have markedly less wealth at equivalent income than their counterparts. Regarding the aspect of spirituality, African Americans are deeply rooted in faith and influence most of their health behaviors. Incorporating the spiritual aspect of care during health promotion can be critical in realizing positive health outcomes.
Aging increases the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes among many others. Diseases like Cancer, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension strike black Americans more often than whites. Evidently, more than 60% of older adults manage two or more chronic conditions not forgetting diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s that increase with aging (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, n.d.). During hospitalization, the elderly are prone to falls and hospital-acquired conditions that put their health at risk. Addressing these conditions through health promotion approaches can be crucial in improving the health of elderly African Americans.
Mr. Simpson is a 65-year-old African American male reporting to the clinic for a wellness visit. He explains that he was referred by a friend who recently joined a weight management program that has enabled him to control his weight. Mr. Simpson reports that he is in good health and has not experienced any medical problems for the past five years. His last visit to a primary care physician was four years ago and he hasn’t had his annual checkups done because he feels he has no health issues. However, he reports having a few episodes of shortness of breath at night that are irregular and have lasted for about three months. His past medical history reveals that he had diverticulitis seven years ago and appendicectomy done 12 years ago. He is currently under no medications and reports an allergy to sulfur drugs.
The patient’s family history is positive for diabetes(mother) and hypertension (mother and father). He is married with two children, although he has not seen his family in about five months now because of work-related issues. Mr. Simpson smokes one pack of cigarettes a day and occasionally drinks alcohol. He reports to have added weight in the past two years and hardly cooks meals at home because of his busy work schedule. His vital signs indicate an elevated blood pressure (147/96 mm/Hg), weight (230 pounds), and BMI of 29 kg/m^2. His review of systems reveals results within normal limits.
Mr. Simpson is a healthy-looking African American male patient who comes to the clinic for a routine evaluation of his health status. Based on the examination finding, the patient is overweight and is at risk of developing obesity. Already the patient has developed mild dyspnea that presents while sleeping and his elevated blood pressure puts him at risk of developing hypertension. With a positive family history of hypertension and diabetes, health promotion activities should be geared towards maintaining Mr.Simpson’s weight and regular wellness checkups to prevent the development of comorbidities. Telehealth can be used to facilitate the care of the patient especially approaches for diet modification and exercise (Batsis et al., 2017). For example, a dietitian-led telemedicine intervention can ensure Mr. Simpson gets nutritional guidance to manage his weight.
The second approach to the management of the patient’s overweight is through mobile technology. Increasing evidence demonstrated promising results among different populations using mobile technology for weight management (Ghelani et al., 2020). These applications have similar features including self-monitoring of diet and physical activity and allow individuals to set goals. Mr.Simpson can benefit from mobile apps like Fitbit for fitness tracking and MyPlate calorie tracker to manage his weight (Ghelani et al., 2020). An alternative therapy that can work for the patient is the use of green tea which is thought to increase energy consumption that reduce fats in the body.
Batsis, J. A., Pletcher, S. N., & Stahl, J. E. (2017). Telemedicine and primary care obesity management in rural areas – Innovative approach for older adults?. BMC Geriatrics, 17(1), 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-016-0396-x
Edelman, C. L., & Kudzma, E. C.. (2018). Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span, 9th edition. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier, Mosby. ISBN: 978-0-323-416733
Ghelani, D. P., Moran, L. J., Johnson, C., Mousa, A., & Naderpoor, N. (2020). Mobile apps for weight management: A review of the latest evidence to inform practice. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 11, 412. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2020.00412
Noonan, A. S., Velasco-Mondragon, H. E., & Wagner, F. A. (2016). Improving the health of African Americans in the USA: An overdue opportunity for social justice. Public Health Reviews, 37(1), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40985-016-0025-4
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (n.d.). Older adults. Healthy People 2020. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/older-adults
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