Book Review: Black Health Matters | lifestyle


Something terrible hurt your head this morning.

Is it something to fear? Her grandfather had heart problems and died after a stroke. Your grandmother had diabetes and you know there must be a way to avoid her fate. Is this what your headache is all about? Do you need Black Health Matters by Richard W. Walker, Jr., MD to allay your fears?

Growing up in Spanish Harlem years ago, Walker noticed how badly people in his neighborhood were affected by diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and kidney failure. That made him “angry”, he says, and it spurred him on to study medicine as a profession.

He is still dismayed that “the poor health of our black population” is almost an epidemic, but there is a solution. Walker says that if you take a “wellness approach” and take steps to stay healthier, you could reduce your chances of developing the more common but most serious diseases that afflict larger numbers of African Americans.

First of all, he says, be aware of your gut-microbiome-brain connection and know which foods are best for you. Knowing what not to eat and how probiotics can help your GMB. Then, especially if you could stand losing a few pounds, understanding obesity, why it matters, and how you got overweight. Did you know that culture has something to do with it? Yes, and although he only briefly addresses “food deserts”, Walker does address these issues.

Walker says black adults are forty percent more likely to have high blood pressure than their white neighbors. High blood pressure is a killer; Knowing more about it – how to read a blood pressure monitor, consider smoking and salt consumption – can keep it under control.

Know the general symptoms of diabetes and what to do about it. Learn how one kidney disease can start with another disease. Learn about cancer, aging, sickle cell anemia, and the importance of dental care. Finally, memorize the signs of a stroke or heart attack; Your life can depend on it.

Your GP is tied up and hard to see. It doesn’t make you any better, but with its clear, easy-to-understand chapters on a variety of diseases, both major and minor, Black Health Matters could do it.

And yet, when you get this book, there is one important thing to remember: it shouldn’t take the place of a doctor with your medical record in hand. This is a reminder offered by author Richard W. Walker, Jr., MD, but caution and prudence do not seem to be emphasized enough here. On the other hand, readers should keep in mind that this book is about proactive and preventive wellbeing, not about repairing things that are already broken.

Perhaps the best use of this book is in the basics it provides: learning overviews, learning to read charts, understanding numbers, and making simple health changes. It’s all in here, it’s doable, and it could turn Black Health Matters into a patient empowerment tool to understand, identify, and stay ahead of key health issues.

“Black Health Matters” by Richard W. Walker, Jr., MD, 2021, Square One Publishers, $ 16.95, 321 pages

“Black Health Matters” by Richard W. Walker, Jr., MD, 2021, Square One Publishers, $ 16.95, 321 pages