In the Anrelope Valley residents of all races face higher mortality rates than in the rest of Los Angeles County, but the rates for black residents are even more pronounced, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
African Americans in the region die four years sooner than black residents elsewhere in the county and 10 years earlier than county residents in general, according to the most recent health statistics.
As the number of African Americans living in cities like Palmdale and Lancaster continues to grow, county officials acknowledge that they have yet to investigate the causes and consequences of lowered life expectancy.
But healthcare providers and African American patients suggest that limited access to medical care may play a role. Patients who cannot visit general practitioners or specialists are likely to forgo treatment or wait until illnesses become so severe that they must go to the emergency room. Health statistics show that black residents in the Antelope Valley who have coronary heart disease, diabetes or renal failure will probably die sooner than similar patients elsewhere in the county.
The problem is especially acute for the area’s 87,000 uninsured residents, they say.
“It’s hard to see doctors, period,” said Vicki Harris, 56, who moved to Lancaster in 1988 after she was injured in a drive-by shooting near her L.A. home. She contracted hepatitis C through a blood transfusion, and she has high blood pressure, among other ailments. “No one really wants to take your plan,” she said.
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