Asian American Medical Hazard: Stroke

My doctor has always considered my high blood pressure to be a significant concern, and she makes sure I am managing it effectively.  After thinking about the Asian Americans that I know who have had a stroke and this recent report and video, I should really be thankful.  Preliminary results from an analysis of 1.7 million stroke cases between 2004 and 2016 reveal that Asian Americans are more likely to have more severe ischemic strokes and worse outcomes than whites.   In addition, Asian Americans studied were less likely to receive clot busting stroke treatment, although this difference seems to diminish during the studied time period. Study lead author Dr. Sarah Song, who revealed the initial results at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference, said:

“Asian Americans may have a distinctive pathophysiologic profile of ischemic stroke than whites.   Regardless, this study highlights the need for more focused research, improved stroke prevention and possibly different treatment strategies for Asian Americans.”

Continue reading “Asian American Medical Hazard: Stroke”

Asian American Medical Hazard: Working in Silicon Valley

employeesampleWhile mobile health units are used in impoverished places like the slums of Mumbai to deliver health care to Asians there, they are also used to deliver health care to Asians in not so impoverished places – the companies of Silicon Valley. This article from Fortune points out that working in Silicon Valley can be bad for workers’ health as being poor can be in other places. Author Jeffrey O’Brien also stresses that while the Silicon Valley work lifestyle can be bad for everyone, it seems to be worse for Asian Americans, particularly if those Asian Americans are of South Asian descent. Exaggeration? Not to me, as many of the problems described have affected me as a Silicon Valley worker.

Continue reading “Asian American Medical Hazard: Working in Silicon Valley”

Asian American Diabetes cases: More than Half are Undiagnosed

PrintMany years ago I was amazed when The Wife, a Registered Nurse, looked at someone at a party and immediately (and correctly, more on that later), pointed out that the person was a diabetic.   I wondered how she figured that out, and after reading this National Institue of Health (NIH) press release about a recent study of diabetes occurrence in the US, it seems that the fact that the person was Asian American, and Filipino in particular, results in a higher probability that she was correct.   The NIH created the graphic to the left which shows that Asian Americans sampled have a much higher incidence of Diabetes than non-Hispanic whites and that half all Asian American cases are undiagnosed.

Continue reading “Asian American Diabetes cases: More than Half are Undiagnosed”

National Minority Donor Awareness Week (August 1-7)

I had no idea that August 1 through August 7 is National Minority Donor Awareness Week until a friend of mine posted the above video which featured a friend of hers.  We have done many stories at 8asians on the need for bone marrow donors, but the generic need for all kinds of donors is bigger than that.  Judith’s story describes a need with many Asian Americans, especially given that many Asian Americans groups suffer disproportionately from diabetes and chances for a match are higher within an ethnic group.  Some key facts about American organ donation:

  • 119,060 people are waiting for an organ
  • 18 people will die each day waiting for an organ
  • 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives
  • 6.7% of recipients were Asians (2012)
  • 3.1% of donors were Asians (2012)

What can be done?

Continue reading “National Minority Donor Awareness Week (August 1-7)”

Eye Care Health Awareness Said To Be Low Among Asian Americans

This press release from Transitions Optical says that eye care awareness is low among Asian Americans, which is a concern because Asian Americans are more vulnerable than the general population to such eye ailments as Glaucoma and conditions like diabetes which can lead to blindness.  The release cites a recent study that says that two out of three Americans do not know that ethnicity can be a risk factor for developing eye health issues.  Asian Americans are said to be the most likely ethnic to group to skip their eye examinations.  Transitions Optical is a manufacturer of eye care lenses and funds a number of charities concerned with eye health.

The Model Minority Myth applied to Asian-American Health

When I was 34, my doctor refused to biopsy a lump I found in my right breast.  He told me I was too young to get breast cancer and had no family history. Besides, he said, “Asian women don’t get breast cancer.”  He was wrong.   After a second doctor told me with “99.9% certainty” that I didn’t have the disease, I told him I wanted to be 100% certain, so he biopsied the lump.  To his shock, I had breast cancer.

(flickr photo credit: yongjiet)

Susan Matsuko Shinagawa’s experiences with doctors and cancer are not unique.  This NPR discussion with Kathy Ko from the Asian Pacific Islander Health Forum talks about the model minority myth applied to Asian-American health, and breast cancer in particular.  That seems so terribly wrong, as I have known a number of Asian-American women who have gotten breast cancer and Tim’s Mom died from it.

The NPR discussion also talks about health disparities in between Asian-Americans and other Americans and between Asian-American subgroups.   For example, U.S.-born Vietnamese women are four times more likely to die of breast cancer than any other Asian-American ethnic group.  That is in contrast to another study that says that Asian immigrant women as a group are 4 times more likely to die of breast cancer than US born women.  Native Hawaiians experience high rates of diabetes and obesity, and Asian-American childhood obesity is on the rise.

Just as the Asian-American model minority myth applied to academics blurs academic disparities between different Asian-American subgroups, aggregating health data across all Asian-Americans causes important information about subgroups to be lost.  Asian-Americans as a whole are 50% less likely to die of heart disease than non-hispanic whites.  But within that broad group, Native Hawaiians are 40% more likely to be diagnosed with heart diseases than non-hispanic whites.   Asian-American kids are the fittest in California, but Filipinos and Pacific Islanders (actually broken out separately here) are not as fit.

What are Asian-Americans to do?  The NPR discussion mentions some solutions, like encouraging culturally appropriate health care access and increasing health care coverage.  Susan Matsuko Shinagawa suggests that some Asian attitudes about cancer, like not talking about it, need to change.  Other studies suggest that adopting the American diet increases cancer risks, so maintaining good eating habits and not being sedentary can go a long way into staying healthy.

Phillipe “The Filipino Assassin” Nover runs into some bad luck in the UFC

MMA fighter and registered nurse Phillipe “The Filipino Assassin” Nover, who we wrote about in the past, has run into some bad luck. After losing in The Ultimate Fighter 8 finals, many people felt that he was counted out early in his next UFC match against Kyle Bradley. Then, after taking a fight against Sam Stout on four weeks notice, he was set to fight at UFC‘s Fight Night 19 when hours before his match he had a seizure which caused the fight to be cancelled.   The cause of his seizure was said to be a “a syncopal episode and hyperglycemia.”  In his blog, he mentions that he needs to see a neurologist for an EEG and to see his primary care doctor about diabetes.

Get more pictures like this at SHERDOG.COM
Get more pictures like this at SHERDOG.COM

Could this guy have diabetes?  Just look at him – he is fit and really cut.  As he said in his blog,

“Even though I view myself as this super healthy athlete who eats right and exercises all day long, there is something wrong with me which I have no control of.”

It is possible that he had hyperglycemia from eating a lot after making his weight cut.  It also possible too that getting hit repeatedly, an occupational hazard of being a professional fighter, has started taking its toll.  He was labeled “fainting Phillipe” by UFC president Dana White because he passed out at the start of the Ultimate Fighter 8.  Then again, he really might have diabetes.  Since he grew up in the US, studies have shown that he is more likely to have diabetes than if he had grown up in Asia.  A occupational hazard of being Asian-American.

He says he feels fine now, but he has resolved to find out what is wrong with him so he can get back into the cage.   The UFC graciously paid him any way despite the fact that he didn’t fight.  I think one additional factor is that he has been under tremendous pressure as after being hyped as “the next Anderson Silva” or “a young GSP”.  In any case, best of luck, Phillipe!