Things That Matter

Latinos Are Less Likely To Seek Medical Help, This Health App In Spanish Could Help

Unsplash / Ada Health

The likelihood of Latinos going to see a doctor for a check up or even when symptoms appear is pretty low. There are several things that prevent Latinos from seeking medical attention like a lack of health insurance, and recently a fear of immigration officials. Some Latinos prefer to forego the doctor and hope things work out for the better. There are a lot of jokes that Latinos prefer home remedies and Vaporu. Now, one comapny is trying to change that for the better.

Ada Health is an artificial intelligence health platform that is already helping millions of people understand their health.

CREDIT: Courtesy Ada Health

Now, the company is going to focus on getting Latinos to the doctor. A Healthy Americas Survey released in 2017 found that out of all minority groups, Latinos were less likely to seek out medical care. An estimated 55 percent of Latinos go to the doctor for health screenings or preventive care.

Ada Health is helping Latinos make medical care a reality by removing obstacles, like the Spanish-language barrier.

CREDIT: Unsplash

According to the United States Census Bureau, out of the 50 million Spanish speakers in the country, about 17 million of them speak English less than “very well.” For many, it’s usually the children that serve as their parents translator.

Ada is launching a new Spanish language platform to help Latinos better assess their health concerns.

CREDIT: Courtesy Ada Health

Ada Health is not a replacement for seeking professional medical help from a doctor. However, it is a useful resource to monitor symptoms and get alerted as to whether or not you need to seek medical attention.

Dr. Claire Novorol, the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Ada Health and a former pediatrician, said that Ada is designed to help users feel like they’re having a conversation with a friendly health guide.

Here’s how the app works:

CREDIT: Courtesy Ada Health

“The app takes you through a series of questions to understand your past medical history, risk factors and asks you about your current symptoms. Then, Ada generates a detailed health assessment that suggests possible conditions and the likelihood of each condition,” Dr. Novorol said. “Ada explores your health and symptoms in detail, personalizing follow up questions to your particular situation and drawing upon an enormous medical knowledge base to suggest possible causes.”

The medical app can also help navigate psychological symptoms and ailments.

CREDIT: Courtesy Ada Health

There is still a stigma surrounding mental health within the Latino community. It is something our community is started to talk about through op culture and media. Ada Health is offering a chance to learn a little more about your mental health.

“It’s critical that the healthcare community continues to work together to understand and embrace new solutions that empower individuals and improve their ability to access the personalized and high-quality care they need,” Dr. Novorol said. “Behind Ada is proprietary artificial intelligence technology and a medical knowledge base that covers thousands of conditions including psychological symptoms and cases, curated by our team of medical experts.”

Because Latinos have a slew of holistic remedies, Ada is planning on incorporating that approach in the future.

“Right now, the app serves as the first line of defense intended to help a patient navigate to the appropriate care, which may include holistic care,” Dr. Novorol said. “At this stage, the app does not recommend specific holistic healthcare providers, but this is something that’s on the horizon for Ada.”

As we noted the app should not replace professional medical help. The app is meant to be provide “timely access to credible health information, a safe and confidential outlet for individuals to address their initial concerns, and empower them to seek the appropriate guidance.”


READ: Doctors Are Calling On Immigration Officials To Respect Sensitive Sites And Allow Undocumented Immigrants To Get Medical Attention

Do you think you or your parents would use this app? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting below!

Beloved Spanish Flamenco Guitarist Charo Says Her Hair Was Covered In Her Husband’s Blood After He Committed Suicide

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Beloved Spanish Flamenco Guitarist Charo Says Her Hair Was Covered In Her Husband’s Blood After He Committed Suicide

It’s one thing to lose a loved one but it must be completely devastating and traumatic to witness them take their own life. In her first television interview since the death of her husband, Kjell Rasten, Charo opened up about finding him on “The Talk” and the importance of spotting depression.

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic details about death suicide appear in this article. 

Recently, Spanish Flamenco Guitarist Charo detailed the circumstances of her husband’s tragic death, which occurred back in February of this year.

During her appearance on “The Talk,” the Spanish singer and actress famously known as Charo detailed the days leading up to his suicide. Rasten died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. According to USA Today, Charo has previously noted that her husband’s mental health had declined in recent years “due to bullous pemphigoid, an autoimmune disorder that which causes chronic blistering of the skin, and the medications (including steroids) he was prescribed to treat it.” 

This resulted in, Charo says, Rasten becoming depressed. “That, along with the many medications he needed to take, became too much for him,” she has said. 

During her emotional interview, she also thanked fans and family for their support and reminded others to beware of the signs of depression.

Her husband, who died earlier this year in February at 79, worked as a TV producer in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He married Charo–whose real name is María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza–in 1978. They were married for over 40 years.  During her first interview after the death of her husband, Charo recalled the night before it all happened. She said they had just returned from a show in Palm Springs and when they returned to their home in Los Angeles, he seemed off. “He looked at me very strange,” she says in the video. 

Speaking about Rasten, Charo said she had been completely in the blind when it came to his suicidal thoughts.

“He was the best husband, the best father, the best companion,” Charo says repeating that she had “no clue” suicide was on his mind. 

The following day, on February 18 in the evening, he shot himself. Rasten shot himself in an alley and Charo believes “he did not want that I find him.” She found him though and when she did, she thought that her husband had simply fallen down. 

The details Charo shared of her husband’s death were extremely shocking.

“I ran to him, because I thought he fell and I hugged him and I was full of blood,” Charo says. “My hair was full of blood like I had a shower of blood.”

Charo continues to detail her husband’s last moments to the hosts of “The Talk” calm and collected–her strength is inspiring.  She continues to explain that when she found her husband he still had a pulse and was still breathing. 

She immediately began to call for help, call the police and the ambulance. As soon as they got to Cedars-Sinai, Rasten was declared her dead. 

“And that moment, I had a bullet in my heart,” Charo said detailing the moment when a policeman made it clear to her that her husband had not in fact fallen down, but “put a bullet in his head.”

One of “The Talk” co-host’s Sheryl Underwood, who’s an actress and comedian, also went through the same experience. Her husband died from suicide in 1990, and the comedian told Charo that they now have a “sisterhood in this way.” 

“How do you survive?” Charo asked Underwood. To which Underwood replied, “In the same way, I had to choose life, and I put God first. And you and I have a bond.” 

We’re sending so much love and light to Charo and her family during this difficult time in her life.

Despite what she’s gone through, Charo continues to show us her bubbly and wonderful personality on Instagram, sharing daily updates on her life. 

On Father’s Day, she shared a photo of her son visiting his father’s grave leaving his roses. “I want to share with you a nice moment with my son, Shel Jr. bringing flowers to his Wonderful father,” she captioned the photo. 

Earlier this month she gave her first interview since her husband’s death to The New York Times where she revealed her secret to finding joy in life again. 

You must live! And you must watch out for the people you love!,” Charo said. “I have a plan. I want to change the world. I know what I want, what I want is what people want.”

Let’s all adopt Charo’s words of wisdom and look out for one another.

It must have been so hard for Charo to open up about this painful experience but we applaud her for her bravery in order to help others who may be going through a similar experience.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

Confessions of a Buena Madre: ‘I Should Have Listened When My Son Kept Telling Me His Stomach Hurt’

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Confessions of a Buena Madre: ‘I Should Have Listened When My Son Kept Telling Me His Stomach Hurt’

“Mamá my stomach hurts.”

Growing up I had a lot of unexplained stomachaches and headaches.

“Maybe you just have to go to the bathroom,” my mom would reply to me every time. I was a scrappy, smart, sensitive child, and I could tell that there was something about the way she said it that felt as if she was repeating someone else’s words. As if, someone had said the same thing to her when she was growing up, maybe her dad, or her grandma Lupe. Maybe it was the far-off tone, the way she avoided eye-contact, or maybe it was the the tinge of worry in her voice. It was the way she always sounded when she thought there might be something wrong with me that she could do nothing about.

Still, she did take me to see a doctor at one point who told me that there was nothing wrong. That “it could just be stress.”

Back in those days, in a small town, and growing up on welfare, there was little my mother, or I could do about stress. Kids were not going to stop bullying me at school for being Mexican, “shabby,” or poor. And they would not stop saying things about the color of my skin. Adults were not going to stop asking me “what are you?” We were not suddenly going to have more money or not be living below the poverty level. My mom wasn’t going to stop being sad about how her mom had left their family when she was five, or about having to leave the rest of her family in Los Angeles to escape my dad who beat her and kidnapped me.

Just stress.

We went home from the doctor’s appointment without any practical advice about what to do about the stress.

images need credit here.

The doctor had given it a name, and now I was expected to move on.

I continued having stomachaches and headaches, what we now know can be somatic symptoms of stress or anxiety, but back then because the doctor had said there was nothing wrong with me, my mom thought I might just be a hypochondriac.

But according to a Harvard Health Publishing article from 2010, the relationship between stress or anxiety and stomach pains is easily explained:

“The brain interacts with the rest of the body through the nervous system, which has several major components. One of them is the enteric nervous system, which helps regulate digestion. In life-or-death situations, the brain triggers the “fight or flight” response. It slows digestion, or even stops it completely, so the body can focus all of its internal energy to facing the threat. But less severe types of stress, such as an argument, public speaking, or driving in traffic, also can slow or disrupt the digestive process, causing abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal symptoms.”

Still, despite my own experiences, when I first started hearing, from my son I  copy/pasted my mother’s reaction.

You might think that I would have kept my own experiences of dealing with my own health and anxiety would have prepared me for when my own child began complaining of the same, but it didn’t at first. “Mama, my stomach hurts,” became a common complaint I heard from my son over the years, and somehow, even though I’d experienced such aches and had known them to be very real, didn’t totally or always react the way that I should have. I did encourage him to talk about his feelings and helped him role-play how to handle difficult situations at school, but I often felt or reacted in the same way about my son’s stomach pains in the way that my own mother did to mine: worry, avoid and sometimes dismiss.

As a parent, I made fun of myself for asking my own child if maybe he had to go to the bathroom when he complained of stomach pains, but I also knew that the feelings of nausea that he had those first days of kindergarten and first grade were indeed stress. The kind of stress, as a former pre-school teacher that I knew how to deal. So, when I dropped him off for school on those days that caused him anxiety, I drew on my training as a childcare worker. I spoke with the teacher. I worked hard not to allow him to feel like his anxious feelings about school were bad or wrong, and I let him talk about his feelings until it was time to make a clean break and leave him for the day. I reassured him that I’d be back, and I come back on time.

And yet, my eagerness to be attentive was not always applied or pursue so thoroughly or possibly with enough vigor.

Often when I heard complaints from my son about his stomachaches, I neglected hunting for answers. On occasions when the words “Mama, my stomach hurts” came out of his mouth, I didn’t ask him why? Or question him on whether or not he was feeling anxious or fearful about something. And while I did bring up his recurring stomach pains in the context of doctor’s visits, I did not take him to medical visits for these pains specifically. Mostly because I attributed his pains to his stranger anxiety and complications with making transitions.

What I did not realize at the time, was that stomach pains, or other somatic symptoms of stress, can lead to anxiety disorders and/or depression if left untreated. I also was not aware that there are ways, some that don’t cost money, that are capable of reducing stress and minimizing its effects. And simply knowing that the stomach pains could very well-be stress could minimize the stress and re-direct a family to take steps to reduce or treat stress.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, there are several psychological interventions that can be enacted to reduce stress and ease gastrointestinal pain. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy in order to “recognize and change stress-inducing thinking, relaxation techniques to calm the body, and gut-directed hypnosis, which combines deep relaxation with positive suggestions focused on gastrointestinal function.”

Recently, an article by Awareness Act titled “Children Won’t Say I Have Anxiety, They Say My Stomach Hurts,” caught my eye and motivated me to reach out to my circle of friends about their experiences of dealing with anxiety as parents. Many of my friends commented about how accurately the article described them as children and quite a few pointed out that oftentimes children will complain of being tired or having a headache.

As parents we often find ourselves wishing for a chance to pry open our children’s heads and see just what’s going on inside of their thoughts.

For parents of teenagers, this thought process can be especially true when our children become more quiet and insular and often even withdrawn.  Still, now I realize that sometimes as parents we’d do better to listen and watch. After all, how often do we as adults become withdrawn, tired or evens so filled with nerves in our stomachs that we become irritable and withdrawn ourselves? Over the years I’ve learned que mi hi’jo was trying to tell me how he was feeling all along: anxious and in need of my help.

If he were little again, I’d listen and take him to talk to a professional about his anxieties sooner. I’d also sit with him every day and tell him to close his eyes, take some deep breaths. Then I’d rub his tummy and say quietly, “Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana.

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