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26 March 2014 Written by  Pastor E A Deckard

WE SHALL OVERCOME

 "A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools."
- Spanish Proverb

Forward Thinkers I promised I would provide weekly thought provoking articles that would inform, inspire, and enlighten.

On last week I experienced a life changing event as I was conducting a leadership meeting I became very ill. My heart began to accelerate and I temporary lost the ability to speak. The ER medical staff informed me after several test that I had experienced a minor stroke.

The doctor also informed me that African American males between the ages of 35-55 are highly likely to experience a stroke. In fact, medical research reveals several deadly diseases strike African American males harder and more often than any other group in America.

Forward Thinkers African Americanobesity males once again lead in an arena where no one desires to lead while we continue to lack in the arena of finances, higher education, employment, and healthcare.

Forward Thinkers I’m not advocating or promoting conspiracy theories but the reality is no one knows if this is pure coincidence or some well planned diabolical scheme to eliminate the African American male.

Let’s look at Exodus 11:5, "Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well." There was once a plan to eliminate a major part of the Egyptian community because they were very strong and skilled but the plan was not fail proof because we see in Exodus 12:12-13, "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt."

Forward Thinkers as we know Obama care is in full effect but as we gain access to affordable healthcare let’s make sure we are also covered with the blood of Jesus so no destructive diseases will be able to strike down the African American male.

4 Leading Causes of Death of African American Males

1. Heart Disease

In a startling 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that African-Americans have a much higher incidence of heart failure than other races, and it develops at younger ages. Heart failure means that the heart isn’t able to pump blood as well as it should.

Before age 50, African-Americans’ heart failure rate is 20 times higher than that of whites, according to the study. Four risk factors are the strongest predictors of heart failure: high blood pressure (also called hypertension), chronic kidney disease, being overweight, and having low levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol. Three-fourths of African-Americans who develop heart failure have high blood pressure by age 40.

Forward Thinkers to prevent heart failure and other heart disease, it’s crucial to treat risk factors successfully but compared with our white peers, African-American males are often less likely to visit a doctor until the symptoms have become overwhelming.

2. Cancer

For such a small structure, the prostate gland can cause very big problems for men, especially African American men. Prostate cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed forms of cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, when compared with Caucasian males, African American males are diagnosed much later and the mortality rate is 2.4 times higher. Research has found that the differences in diagnosis and mortality are often due to Black males avoiding prostate screening exams and a lack of access to quality medical care. African American males are also more likely to garner a "wait and see" attitude as opposed to a more proactive treatment protocol.

3. Stroke

African American males are 60% more likely to die from stroke than our white adult counterparts. Analysis from the Centers for Disease Control reveals that African American stroke survivors were likely to become disabled and have difficulty with activities of daily living than our white counterparts. While many in the African American community know about stroke some may not relate to their risk factors. Risk factors for stroke include: Obesity or being overweight, hypertension, high cholesterol, heavy drinking, and cigarette smoking.

The warning signs of a stroke are: Sudden numbness or weakness (on one side of the body), confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding, difficulty seeing, difficulty with walking, coordination, or dizziness, and severe headaches.

4. Diabetes

Today, diabetes mellitus is one of the most serious health challenges facing the United States. The following statistics illustrate the magnitude of this disease among African Americans.

In 1998, of 35 million African Americans, about 1.5 million have been diagnosed with diabetes. This is almost 4 times the number known to have diabetes in 1968.

About 730,000 African Americans have diabetes but do not know they have the disease. Identifying these undiagnosed cases and providing clinical care for their diabetes is a major challenge for the health care community.

For every six white Americans who have diabetes, 10 African Americans have diabetes.

African Americans with diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes complications and experience greater disability from the complications than white Americans with diabetes.

Death rates for people with diabetes are 27 percent higher for blacks compared with whites.

Forward Thinkers healthy lifestyles, such as eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise, are particularly important for African American males who are at increased risk of diabetes.

In conclusion, Forward Thinkers we must reevaluate our lifestyles and commit to healthy living and allow the blood of Jesus to cover us. Yes, I still believe there is power in the blood of Jesus but I also know faith without works is dead. Therefore, it’s time we as Forward Thinkers go to work on improving our quality of life and enjoy the promise from God of long abundant life.

Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. Contact Pastor Deckard at www.ghic.net or via Facebook.