Racism Could Literally Affect Your Physical Health, Study Shows

Protestors march against the far-right's Unite the Right rally August 12, 2018 in Washington, DC on the one-year anniversary of deadly violence at a similar protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. - Last year's protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead and dozens injured, saw hundreds of neo-Nazi sympathizers, accompanied by rifle-carrying men, yelling white nationalist slogans and wielding flaming torches in scenes eerily reminiscent of racist rallies held in America's South before the Civil Rights movement. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty Images)

Racism Could Literally Affect Your Physical Health, Study Shows

Exposure to bigotry increases risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia and more.

Published June 3rd

File this one under: told y’all.

Researchers at the University of Southern California released a study that links victims of racism to an increase in serious diseases.

The study of 71 people found that those who suffer from racism are more likely to get heart disease, dementia or cancer if they’re stressed for a long time. It claims enduring racial abuse is literally toxic on the body and triggers inflammation, which leads to the aforementioned diseases.

Inflammation among African Americans was almost two thirds as high as it was in white European Americans. Scientists had reportedly already knew victims of abuse could raise the risk of disease, however they didn’t know the root cause.

The scientists conducting the study suggest that racial abuse also may cause long-term inflammation through genetic changes driven by ongoing stress.

Out of the 71 participants analysed during the USC study, 48 were African American and 23 were white. Levels of inflammatory molecules were 63 percent higher among the African American group than that of the white European American. African American participants also reported higher levels of feeling discriminated against.

Past research has linked inflammation to heart disease, dementia and cancer through the way it disrupts certain cells from working properly. People who have constant high levels of swelling at cell level are more likely to develop those illnesses in the future.

Written by Paul Meara

Photo: DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty Images


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