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Minority Women's Health: Asian-Americans

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Asian-Americans are an incredibly diverse population. They are people whose family roots trace to the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. They are sometimes stereotyped as the "healthy minority." In fact, Asian-American women have the highest life expectancy of any group in the United States.

Yet, Asian-Americans have many real and serious threats to their health, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and tuberculosis. Moreover, grouping all Asian-Americans into a single category hides the health risks of specific subgroups. For instance, Asian-Indians are a high risk group for heart disease, although Asian-Americans overall are at lower risk. Genes, culture, environment, and access to care play a role in the health status of specific ethnic groups.

Asian-Americans face some of the same limitations to good health as other minority groups. Language barriers can interfere with receiving quality health care. About one-third of Asian-Americans do not speak English very well. Some do not speak any English. Many Asian-Americans may not know about the risk factors for disease or the role of preventive health care. Cultural beliefs about health and illness often conflict with Western medicine, which keep some Asian-Americans from seeking help for symptoms or sticking with treatment. Those living in poverty or uninsured may have limited access to health care.

Learning about disease risk and prevention can help in the quest for good health. This section explores the specific health threats facing Asian-American women. You will see information about tests to ask your doctor about. You will also see information about lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of disease.

Health conditions common in Asian-American women:

Breast Cancer
Cervical Cancer
Heart Disease
Hepatitis B
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High Cholesterol
Liver Cancer
Mental health problems and suicide
Overweight and obesity
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Stomach cancer
Tuberculosis (TB)

More resources on healthy aging and minority health

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.