Black health issues

If you're African or African Caribbean and you live in the UK, you're more likely than people from other cultures to have certain health conditions, including high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes and prostate cancer.

This is also the case for some mixed-race people of African or African Caribbean descent.

Experts aren't sure why these conditions are more common in people of African and African Caribbean origin, but they think it may be linked to diet, lifestyle and different ways of storing fat in the body.

There are several ways to reduce your risk of these conditions. Follow these links to find out how to protect yourself against:

Mental health

People from African and African Caribbean communities are more likely than others to be admitted to hospital for mental illness. The same is also true for people of white and black mixed ethnicity.

Most of us have problems at some time in our lives, such as money worries, stress at work or the death of a loved one, which can affect our mental health.

But people from African and African Caribbean communities can face additional problems that may affect their mental health.

Everyday life has a big impact on mental health, and black communities in the UK are still more likely than others to experience problems such as bad housing, unemployment, stress and racism, all of which can make people ill.

Worldwide, it seems that people who move from one country to another have a higher risk of mental illness. This is especially true for black people who move to predominantly white countries, and the risk is even higher for their children.

While mental illness is no more common in Africa or the Caribbean than it is in the UK as a whole, it is a bigger problem for African and African Caribbean communities living in the UK.

Looking after your mental health, as well as your family's and friends', is important, so you need to know who to speak to if things go wrong.

Our section on mental health has information on where to go for help and support, and what you can do to maintain good mental health. has interviews and videos of people talking about their experiences of mental health issues – see mental health: ethnic minority experiences.

Sickle cell disorder

Sickle cell disorder (SCD), sometimes called sickle cell disease or sickle cell, reduces the blood's ability to carry oxygen around the body. It developed thousands of years ago in countries where malaria was common, and today it mainly affects people of African and African Caribbean origin.

SCD can also affect people from Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian communities. The most common type of SCD is sickle cell anaemia.

People can be carriers of sickle cell disorder without knowing it. If you're thinking of starting a family, it's important to get tested to see if you carry the gene.

Our section on sickle cell disorder provides information about the disorder, including symptoms and screening, and links to where you can get more help and support. We also have an article where a young woman talks about her experience of living with sickle cell anaemia.

Page last reviewed: 07/07/2014

Next review due: 28/02/2017


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