It probably goes without saying that our health and wellbeing are influenced by so many factors. These include everything from our lifestyle choices and behaviors to our sex, ethnicity, and race. In fact, it only takes a quick Google search to see how true this really is, with the Office of Research on Women’s Health noting that women are more prone to certain illnesses and Black women across the United States, in particular, commonly have higher rates of various health conditions in comparison to women of other races and ethnicities [1].

We know this might sound daunting, but know that being aware of these common conditions and staying in the know puts you in a strong position to take control! These are the four health conditions that are most common in Black women in America and what you can do to tackle them.

#1 Heart disease

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that heart disease is the number one cause of death for Black women in the United States [2]. According to the Mayo Clinic, this issue is amplified because many Black women in America aren’t aware of their risk [3].

How to take action

Some of the factors that increase your risk of heart disease include high blood pressure, obesity, and a family history of heart disease. It’s possible to lower your risk by making some small but impactful lifestyle changes such as following a balanced diet, sticking to a healthy weight, and staying active - this can be anything from a lunchtime walk to a morning dance party in your PJs!

If you would like to check in on your heart health, you can do so with LetsGetChecked’s range of heart health tests, including Diabetes and Home Cholesterol Testing. If eligible, you can get treated through our Cholesterol CarePathway™.

#2 Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women and Black Women in America are disproportionately more likely to be affected by it than white women. In fact, a report published by the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI) found that African American women are more likely to have a late-stage cervical cancer diagnosis and are more likely to die from the disease than any other racial or ethnic group across the U.S [4].

How to take action

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer and when diagnosed in the early stages, it can be treated. This is why regular cervical screening is one of the most effective ways to detect any abnormal changes. The CDC recommends starting screening at the age of 21 and regularly screening every 3 to 5 years until the age of 65 [5]. Speak with your doctor about the screening tests that are right for you.

#3 Premature delivery

Premature delivery refers to childbirth that occurs more than 3 weeks before the baby’s estimated due date - around 1 in 10 babies born in the US are preterm. And although the rate of preterm births declined in 2020, the CDC notes that racial and ethnic differences remain, with the rates of premature delivery among African American women almost 50% higher than in white or Hispanic women [5].

How to take action

Certain medical conditions can increase the likelihood of having a preterm delivery, and your risk may be higher if you have previously had a preterm delivery in another pregnancy. In many cases, premature delivery can happen unexpectedly however there are some signs that are worth knowing. These include regular contractions, dull backaches, light vaginal bleeding or spotting, or a change in vaginal discharge.

Be sure to have open conversations with your doctor about your medical history and any concerns you may have and regularly check in so any potential complications can be addressed early.

#4 Sickle cell anemia

Sickle cell anemia is one of a group of blood disorders referred to as sickle cell disease. It is a genetic disorder in which red blood cells have an abnormal shape, like a sickle, instead of their normal circular shape. These abnormal red blood cells are fragile and not flexible enough to move through small blood vessels, resulting in significant symptoms and complications. This condition is more commonly seen in those with a Caribbean or African background.

How to take action

It is possible to not have the condition but carry the trait which is why Black women who are hoping to start a family should get screened for sickle cell. This should be done early on in the pregnancy - screening will also be offered to the father. With the correct treatment, children with sickle cell can live happy and healthy lives.


  1. National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health. 7 Diseases That Can Affect Your Health and What You Can do. Online:
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leading Causes of Death – Females – Non-Hispanic black – United States, 2017. Online:
  3. Mayo Clinic. Heart disease in African American women: The health disparities and how to overcome them. Online:
  4. Human Rights Watch. Ending Preventable Deaths from Cervical Cancer in Rural Georgia. Online:
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cervical Cancer screening. Online:
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HPV and Cancer. Online:
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preterm Birth. Online: