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One possible contributing factor: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says African Americans are more likely to die at early ages for all causes, as young African Americans are living with diseases that are typically more common at older ages for other races. 

High blood pressure is common in 12 percent vs. 10 percent of blacks vs. whites aged 18-34 years, respectively. High blood pressure is common in 33 percent vs. 22 percent of those aged 35-49 years, respectively.

Diabetes is common in 10 percent of blacks aged 35-49 compared to 6 percent of whites.

Stroke is present in 0.7 percent of blacks aged 18-34 compared to 0.4 percent of whites the same age. Stroke is common in 2 percent of African Americans compared to 1 percent of whites aged 35-49 and 7 percent  vs. 4 percent , respectively, in those aged 50-64.

The CDC said that social factors compared to others in the U.S., specifically whites, affect African Americans at younger ages: unemployment, living in poverty, not owning a home, cost-prohibitive effects of trying to see an MD, smoking, inactive lifestyle, or obesity.

A white paper from Cigna went further, acknowledging mental health disparities between African Americans and white patients.  They noted blacks are 20 percent more likely to report psychological distress and 50 percent less likely to receive counseling or mental health treatment due to the aforementioned underlying socioeconomic factors.

Another area of health care there is a disparity is among renal disease. Blacks and African Americans can suffer from kidney failure at as much as 3 times the rate of Caucasians, according to the National Kidney Foundation. 

Black patients represent as much of a third of all patients in the U.S. receiving dialysis for kidney failure, though they don’t represent anywhere near that proportion of the U.S. population, they added. Individuals who are black alone, the Office of Minority Health says, make up 12.7 percent of the U.S. population.

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