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National Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrate the Hispanic community

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrate the Hispanic community

As September hits its stride, LCMC Health will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month alongside the greater Hispanic community of New Orleans. The United States dedicates an entire month—from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15—to highlight the contributions made by American citizens of Latin American descent. While we honor members of our community, we feel it’s important to note the origins of National Hispanic Heritage Month as well as what health and wellness looks like in the Hispanic community in 2023.

September 15 marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month because it’s a huge day in the history of several Latin American countries. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua all gained their independence on that date. Introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week and expanded by President Ronald Reagan, National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates Latin American culture, history, art and more! This year, focus on ways you can help your family prevent and manage three health issues common to Hispanic and Latino people.

1. Get the whole family involved in tackling diabetes

Overall, Americans have a 40 percent chance of developing Type 2 diabetes at some point during their lives, but Americans of Hispanic or Latino descent have an increased risk. If you’re a member of a Hispanic or Latino ethnic or racial group, you’re more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes (and at a younger age) than a non-Hispanic white person. You’re also at an increased risk for kidney failure.

The good news is that you can greatly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by:

  • Staying active and exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Consulting a primary care physician regularly

Since other members of your family will also be at risk, get ahead of the curve by talking to your family about exercise and healthy eating. Try cooking healthy meals for the entire family and encourage them to get plenty of exercise throughout the week. Make time to have conversations about your personal health goals and what you’d like to accomplish together as a family.

2. Protect your family from cancer risks

Along with Type 2 diabetes, people of Hispanic or Latino descent have a higher risk of certain types of cancer than people of other ethnicities. Hispanic women are significantly more likely to develop cervical cancer than other women. Hispanic people also have a higher likelihood of developing liver or stomach cancer, but they are less likely than other groups to develop more common cancers such as lung or breast cancer.

If you are a woman of Hispanic descent, we recommend getting screened for cervical cancer and vaccinated for HPV. Girls as young as nine are eligible for the vaccine, so protect your daughter against future risk of cervical cancer by having her get vaccinated! You can also reduce your risk by avoiding smoking and regularly attending physical checkups.

3. What you should know about Alzheimer’s disease

People of Hispanic or Latino origin are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, 13% of the Hispanic population 65 and older has Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. If you have Hispanic or Latino ancestry, you are 1.5 times more likely than a non-Hispanic white person to develop Alzheimer’s.

Unfortunately, many people with Hispanic heritage find it difficult to get their health conditions like Alzheimer’s properly addressed due to factors such as language barriers, racial bias and lack of resources. As we continue to celebrate the Hispanic community of New Orleans this Hispanic Heritage Week and beyond, we at LCMC Health will stay mindful of these realities and do what we can to help. We’re bringing an attitude of love, care and celebration to the greater Hispanic community of New Orleans.

Is it time for your yearly physical exam? Learn more about how our Hispanic Health Center can serve you and your family.