CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - When the Cleveland Clinic Minority Men’s Health Fair started back in 2003, about 50 men showed up.
Now, thousands are expected to come get free screenings at four locations for dozens of illnesses that disproportionately affect men of color.
Cedric Richardson attended one of those fairs a few years ago after a friend urged him to go.
Richardson knew diabetes ran in his family, yet he didn’t want to face the possibility that he could also be affected by the disease.
“That denial was based on fear, lack of information,” said Richardson.
Fear and lack of information can be deadly.
“About 40 percent of all black men, for instance, have high blood pressure,” said Dr. Charles Modlin, director of the Minority Men’s Health Fair. “The national average is about 20 to 25 percent. Black men have an 80 percent higher incidence of diabetes, four to six times the risks of developing kidney disease and twice the death rate from prostate cancer. More black men also die from stroke."
These and other diseases can knock years off your life and will affect your quality of life.
It’s important to know your family’s health history.
Richardson’s mother, aunt and uncles all had bouts with diabetes.
“I virtually saw my uncles go to the hospital, never sick a day in their lives, and die,” said Richardson.
“One of the major points we always try to impress upon the men is you can have a lot of these conditions and absolutely have no signs or symptoms whatsoever,” said Dr. Modlin.
The health fair is April 11 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will be held at four Cleveland Clinic locations.