Navigation Links
Could Discrimination Help Trigger Illness in Blacks?

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The stress associated with racial discrimination may take a heavy toll on the body, researchers say.

The finding could help explain why certain racial groups tend to have more heart disease, diabetes and other age-related conditions, according to a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

This study may be the first to find a possible physiological explanation for racial disparities in health, said Dr. Jennifer H. Mieres, a cardiologist and chief diversity and inclusion officer at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y. Mieres was not involved with the study.

Psychological stress has long been linked to heart disease, cancer and other ailments. And racial discrimination is associated with higher blood pressure, obesity and even early death.

But what is the physiological mechanism at play here?

Small studies have suggested that psychological stressors may trigger oxidative stress, which "is a precursor to many, many illnesses like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and aging itself, it seems," said study lead author Sarah L. Szanton.

Healthy bodies maintain a balance between so-called free radicals, which can damage cells, and antioxidants, which are necessary for the body to repair itself from various insults and injuries.

But various factors, including behaviors such as smoking or eating fried food, will tip the seesaw in the wrong direction, resulting in more free radicals and, therefore, more oxidative stress, which wreaks havoc on the cellular functions that keep us alive.

To test whether racial discrimination was linked with oxidative stress, Szanton and her colleagues evaluated information on 629 adults -- blacks and whites -- who were enrolled in a U.S. National Institute on Aging study. They ranged from 30 to 64 years old and represented different income levels.

The participants had been asked about racial discrimination, and the researchers paired their answers with the results of blood tests that measured degradation of red blood cells, an indicator of oxidative stress.

More blacks reported racial discrimination than whites, and blacks who experienced more racial discrimination than their peers had more oxidative stress. Among whites, discrimination was not tied to oxidative stress.

This preliminary study only looked at overt discrimination, and additional research is needed to confirm the results. Future research might want to focus also on institutional discrimination, such as neighborhood and school segregation, said Szanton, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore.

Mieres suggested that clinicians might want to incorporate more information on day-to-day stressors their patients face into treatment decisions.

"That might factor into making determinations for treating borderline blood pressure or diabetes," she said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on health disparities.

SOURCES: Sarah L. Szanton, Ph.D., assistant professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore; Jennifer H. Mieres, M.D., cardiologist and chief diversity and inclusion officer, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Manhasset, N.Y.; Sept. 13, 2011, International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Permanently dismal economy could prompt men to seek more sex partners
2. Stem cells from cord blood could help repair damaged heart muscle
3. Rising Global Smoking Rates Could Add Millions of TB Deaths
4. Study could help improve gene therapy for heart disease, cancer
5. Chocolate Could Be Sweet Defense Against Stroke
6. Battle between the placenta and uterus could help explain preeclampsia
7. Jonesing for java: Could caffeine use predict risk for cocaine abuse?
8. New method to diagnose sinusitis could reduce use of antibiotics
9. Marijuana component could ease pain from chemotherapy drugs
10. Anemia Could Add to Surgical Risks
11. Could Surgery, Anesthesia While Very Young Hamper Kids Development?
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Could Discrimination Help Trigger Illness in Blacks?
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The hospitals and health ... aspects of orthopedic care. They have received recognition for excellence from various reputable ... , Becker's Hospital Review selected hospitals for inclusion based on national rankings ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In response to recent news highlighting ... from prescription opioids in the United States grew 400 percent between 1999 and 2010, ... were involved in 37 percent of all fatal drug overdoses. (1) , While oxycodone ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... Serenity Point ... a series of recent video interviews with some of the staff members at their ... the residential treatment facility, as well as some of the things that make their ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Chiropractic student Katie Benson ... (CU-KC), in Overland Park, Kansas. Benson, a fifth-trimester student in the university’s College ... III on October 16. , “Katie is very excited and greatly appreciative to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Autism Speaks, the world’s leading ... driven by social media and the generosity of people around the world. On December ... media networks to give – and share the personal stories behind those gifts. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... COMMACK , Nueva York ... Avery Biomedical Devices (ABD), fabricante del Avery Breathing ... Anders Jonzon , MD; Ph.D. como consultor ...   --> Foto - ... --> El doctor Jonzon es un ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Avery Biomedical Devices (ABD), manufacturer ... announce the appointment of Anders Jonzon , MD; ... Dr. Jonzon is a Physiologist ... Hospital, Uppsala University, Uppsala and Children,s Hospital, Karolinska, ... a fellow at the Cardiovascular Institute (UCSF). His research ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... F1000Workspace - a research collaboration, reference management ... just six months ago. --> F1000Workspace - ... - since it was launched just six months ago. ... F1000Workspace - a research collaboration, reference management and ... six months ago. --> --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: