Lack of access to health care, language barriers, and discrimination are all factors contributing to minority health disparities. These issues are often greatly magnified in recent immigrants and migrant workers.
In fact, some research suggests that citizenship may be an even more important factor in health access issues than minority status. Although minorities are more likely to be uninsured than whites, the gap is much larger among non-citizen minorities. Low-income non-citizens are even less likely than low-income citizens to lack health care coverage. Immigrants who are here illegally have few health care options. They may fear discovery if they use services such as community clinics.
Depending on their country of origin, recent immigrants are more likely to have health problems such as:
Rheumatic heart disease
Post-traumatic stress disorder from rape or torture
All of these conditions need treatment. But without health care access, immigrants are unlikely to receive it. Even if they end up in a health care facility, cultural and language barriers can stand in the way of appropriate health care. Health care providers need to be aware of these issues so they are better able to help immigrant patients.
Getting treatment for immediate health needs is important. But taking care of your overall health before health problems arise is also important. In fact, good health habits can help keep you from getting sick or developing medical problems that need a doctor’s care. Learn how to take care or your health.
More resources on healthy aging and minority health