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African American Women's Health 

Buckeye Health Plan strives to improve minority health access to care. Statistics show that black women are more likely than other group to die from heart disease, hypertension, stroke, lupus, and cervical cancer. They are twice as likely to develop diabetes over age 55 or have uncontrolled blood pressure and are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy- related cause. Buckeye Health Plan encourages women to make their health a priority by staying up to date on important preventative care appointments and screenings. 

Call your doctor and schedule your wellness visit today!

Plus, members earn $75 in MyHealthPays rewards for completing and annual wellness visit!

Cultural Health Disparities

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Ohio and the United States, accounting for nearly one of every four deaths.1  Early detection is key. Late-stage detection for both breast and cervical cancers is highest amount African American women in Ohio.

Breast Cancer2

  • Breast cancer death rates were highest for Black women
  • Five-year relative survival was lower among Black women (85%), compared with white women (92%) and Asian/Pacific Islander women (91%).
  • Black women in Ohio were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a late stage than other races and to be diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.

A tool that women can use for early detection is a breast self-exam to check for early signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website to learn more about breast self-exams and how you can perform this test. This exam should not replace regular mammograms with your doctor.

Cervical Cancer3

  • Cervical cancer death rates were 36% higher and five-year relative survival was 5% lower for Black women than for white women.
  • The proportion of cervical cancers diagnosed at a late stage was highest among Black women in Ohio in 2014-2018.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is almost always the cause of cervical cancer.
    • Vaccination is the best way to protect against cancers caused by HPV infections and is recommended for all boys and girls at age 11 or 12.

Regular screenings like mammograms and Pap tests can find cancers early when treatment is most likely to be successful. Talk to your doctor about what test is right for you and schedule today!

  • Mammograms4:
    • Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
    • Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
    • Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms.
  • Cervical Cancer Screenings5:
    • Cervical cancer testing (screening) should begin at age 25.
    • Those aged 25 to 65 should have a primary HPV test every 5 years. If primary HPV testing is not available, screening may be done with either a co-test that combines an HPV test with a Papanicolaou (Pap) test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years.

According to the American Heart Association, about 55% of black adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension or HBP. Obesity and diabetes are two key factors that increase the rate for high blood pressure and heart disease. High blood pressure can lead to other conditions and even death when it is not controlled. HBP is a major risk factor for stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. 1


  • Although African American adults are 30 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, they are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to have their blood pressure under control.2
  • African American women are nearly 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, as compared to non-Hispanic white women.

Managing High Blood Pressure

Healthy lifestyle choices are the first step to managing your high blood pressure3:

  • Know your blood pressure numbers – call Buckeye Member Services  at 866-246-4358 to secure an at-home blood pressure monitor!
  • Add physical activities to your weekly schedule
  • Include a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fait dairy
  • Avoid smoking, and limit your alcohol intake
  • Reduce your daily intake of sodium (salt) and saturated & trans fat
  • Take your medications as prescribed by a doctor

Diabetes is chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. According to the Ohio Department of Health, nearly 1 million Ohio adults have been diagnosed with diabetes1.

How Does Diabetes Affect African American Populations2?

  • In 2019, non-Hispanic blacks were twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes.
  • In 2018, African American adults were 60 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.
  • In 2019, non-Hispanic blacks were 2.5 times likely to be hospitalized with diabetes and associated long-term complications than non-Hispanic whites.
  • In 2019, non-Hispanic blacks were 3.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with end stage renal disease as compared to non-Hispanic whites.

While there is no cure for diabetes, the disease can be managed more easily when detected early by a doctor. Losing weight, eating healthy food and being physically active can also help to manage diabetes. Visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website for more information on healthy food choices for diabetics.

Know Your Numbers – A1C

A1C numbers show your average blood glucose (blood sugar). This test can be used to diagnose diabetes, or diagnose prediabetes. Learn more about A1C and see what the numbers mean by visiting the National Diabetes Association website.

Call your doctor today to schedule an appointment. Buckeye members earn $100 in My Health Pays® rewards for completing a diabetes comprehensive screening, including HbA1, kidney and retinopathy screenings once in the calendar year!

Be Active

Be active in your health care. Learn your family history and prep before your appointment by coming with your questions written down. Bring all prescribed medications, jot down any symptoms experienced; discuss treatment options, and always give yourself time before making any critical decisions.

Educate Yourself

If there is something you do not understand about your health, speak up and ask questions. Ask about side effects, advantages and disadvantages of recommendations made by the provider. There is nothing wrong with asking your provider to repeat any information shared. Do not leave your appointment until you fully understand about your care.

Seek Support

It’s OK to ask for help. Consider bringing someone with you for support. Many healthcare systems also provide advocates for patients. If you need additional assistance ask if you can get additional support such as an interpreter, health coach, aide, or doula during your visit.

Find a Good Primary Care Doctor

Key to advocating for your health is having a primary care doctor you trust and feel comfortable with. Ask for recommendations and search for doctors that have taken cultural competency courses.

Don‘t Ignore Pain

Knowing what is normal for you can translate into the ability to recognize your pain. Advocating for your health means mentioning the things that are bothersome to you even if it’s been an existing problem for a while. Living in constant pain is not normal.