The Top 10 Killers of Black Men

The Basics: 

Black Man CryingPeople will ask me often why we need a Black Man Survival Guide.  There are many reasons but a glaring one is that fact that black men run a much higher risk of illness and death compared to the rest of the US population.  In many cases black men are 2 to 10 times as likely to fall victim to the same diseases that afflict their white counterparts.  The following chart lists the top 10 killers of African American men along with the percentage of occurrence.  This information was obtained from the latest available reports from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  I would venture to guess that the 2011 statistics are comparable if not worst.

Top 10 Causes of Death Among African American Males

1. Heart Disease (24%) 6. Diabetes (3.9%)
2. Cancer (21.9%) 7. HIV/AIDS (3.0%)
3. Injury, Violence and Safety (6.5%) 8. Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema (2.8%)
4. Homicide (5.2%) 9. Kidney Disease (2.6%)
5. Stroke (5.0%) 10. Conditions Perinatal/Newborn (1.9%)

Notes: “Injury, Violence and Safety” includes: car crashes, domestic abuse, child abuse, youth violence and other various injuries.  “Conditions Perinatal/Newborn” includes issues related to HIV-infected mothers giving birth and pregnancy care.

Although these statistics may be interesting, they clearly have little value without context.  To understand their importance we need to compare them to other ethnic groups within America.  The following charts show the difference in death rates among ethnic groups for several of the items listed above (to include homicide).

 Disease-Cancer Chart

Disease-Diabetes

HIV AIDS Chart

Disease-Prostate Cancer Chart

Disease-Homicide Chart 

Black on Black CrimeAs you can see, for many of these diseases the black man is anywhere from 2 to 8 times more likely to die than the average white, Latino or Asian American man.  The fact that there are such glaring differences in death rate between African American and other races is just more proof that black men are at an extremely higher risk of death and need to take special precaution to avoid disease and murder. 

This article is presented to illuminate the problem, not to solve it.  There will be follow up articles that talk specifically about each of these killers and what we can do to reduce their impact on the black community.  If you need further information on any of these diseases right now, consult your doctor.  Knowing that these 10 items are specific health risks give you the knowledge to ask your doctor the right questions and to change your lifestyle to minimize the risk of death from one of these killers.

What you may not know: 

In relation to homicide the number one killer of black men is other black men.  It is a national tragedy that black-on-black crime ranks as the 4th leading cause of death for black men.  In the age group of 15 – 34 black-on-black crime is the #1 killer of black men.

What you need to know: 

Each of these 10 major health risks can be treated or avoided if identified early.  Regular checkups and change in lifestyle will go a long way in reducing your risk of illness or death as a result of 1 or more of these 10 killers.

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