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Whether you want to believe it or not I've been able to statistically and scientifically prove how financial cancer specifically in the African American community is the number one cause of death threatening illness. But let me stop you for a second because I know right now while you're reading this, you're going to probably say Jake has lost his mind there's no way that is possible that the lack of finances has any correlation to death in our communities. Listen, I get it I would think the same thing if I didn't know the facts. But I beg you to pay attention as you dive into the information that I have gathered for you, specifically in this chapter. I want you to open your mind to the statistical and scientific possibility that there is a chance that my hypothesis is correct and just maybe we have found a cure that can heal a lot of families, starting with yours in our communities.
Before we get started, I must Define to you what Financial cancer is. Financial cancer is my discovery therefore you will not find any other research or literary work on this specific concept. I developed the concept Financial cancer after I realized that there were four stages to financial cancer just like there are four stages to physical cancer you will find out more about that later in the book. However, what I did began to realize was Financial cancer does grow and interrupt or cause infection in other parts of our lives in ways that cancer grows and metastasizes in other organs inside of our body. Financial cancer is a compound effect of financial inefficiencies that grow at unregulated and abnormal rates, thus causing chronic and acute stress that disrupts every aspect of your life.
Based on the statistics from the National Vital Statistics report volume 67, number 6 from the centers of Disease Control and prevention (i.e. the CDC) I was able to uncover the top 5 causes of deaths amongst African Americans.
Top 5 reasons of death amongst blacks:
Diseases of the heart 23.4%
Malignant neoplasms cancer 21.3%
Cerebral vascular diseases stroke 5.6%
Accidents unintentional injuries 5.5%
Heart disease transpires when plaque buildup thickens and stiffens the artery walls. This buildup can inhibit blood flow through your arteries to your organs and tissues. Atherosclerosis is also most common cause of cardiovascular disease typically caused by correctable problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
If you anything like my mom, she’s always like hurry up and get to the point lol. I’m getting you there, I just need you to follow me briefly down this scientific journey, I promise it won’t take long. I am trying to save your life here.
So, Jake, what does all of this have to do with financial cancer or money? That my friend is a great question and it will get answered right now. There is no secret that stress is one of the top complaints of adults old and young and the United States. The physical effects of prolonged stress are numerous, including a greater susceptibility to illness, a lack of energy, problems with sleep, headache, poor judgment, weight gain, depression, anxiety, and a host of other ills. Many people blame their inability to maintain healthy relationships on stress.
According to the American Psychological Association's last survey the number one cause of stress is money.
There’s no guess that are several ways that chronic stress can kill you. When you stress it increases your levels of cortisol often referred to as stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increases blood pressure, cholesterol and leads to sure fight with heart disease.
So, the question is what is stress?
Stress is a measure of your mental and physical resistance to circumstances beyond your control. Stressors are threats, demands, or changes to which you attach special, significant importance, and with which you may struggle or feel uncertainty
Acute stress and chronic stress affect you in more ways than you think! When you encounter a stressful situation, stress hormones flood your bloodstream so that you can respond quickly and with strength. Watching your child nearly drown in water, for an example, might induce a hormonal response that enables you to catch your youngster before any harm is done. Specifically, your pituitary gland discharges ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone) into the bloodstream, ACTH in turn, catalyzes the release of two Catecholamine Hormones, Epinephrine (Adrenaline) and none epinephrine or (non-adrenaline) from your sympathetic nerves into the bloodstream. Catecholamines, produced by the adrenal glands, serve as a neurotransmitter that signal the body to prepare for emergency action.
These psychological changes produce increased heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and muscle tension that serves to supply adequate blood to your brain and musculoskeletal system. Higher levels of free fatty acids and blood sugars are released to provide immediate energy to survive the perceived emergency. This is what we call the well-known “fight or flight response”.
It is the general absence of an emergency or threat taken in response to some stressor that may wreak havoc with your health. And most emotionally stressful social situations for example for those that result from financial worry you don't flee or fight instead you may “suck it up” and end up storing the stress internally. Additionally, your reaction to the stressor may include feelings of helplessness or fertility, which might cause stress hormones to continue to surge.
Long-term chronic stress can wreck your nervous system through cyclic adrenaline rush. It can cause oxidative damage to tissues in the body that leads to inflammation. It can stoke symptoms such as headache, achy neck, ulcer, allergies and diminished sexual desire. Eventually your body will adapt to a continued state of vigilance by producing an excessive amount of stress hormone cortisol. Too much stress, over time, can exhaust you (you burn out), your adrenal glands were cortisol is produced, and accelerate the aging process, harm your immune system and even shrink vital brain tissue resulting in memory loss and problems with concentration.
Dangerous cortisol levels is the leading but over often overlooked cause of insomnia and a major contributor to mental ills (depression, obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders), as well as physical disease is ranging from the common cold, recurrent herpes, obesity, and cancer. It is hard to think of any disease in which stress cannot play a precipitating or aggravating roll.
So, Jake, you are telling me that stressing over money over a long period of time can kill me?
Absolutely. acute stress is the leading cause of sudden death, especially in young healthy people with no evidence of coronary disease. But it can fail people at any age. Chronic stress causes heart disease. It is the secret cause of heart attacks and arterial disease -not fat or cholesterol. It contributes to high blood pressure or hypertension, a risk factor for cardiovascular problems such as heart failure and sudden cardiac death in a heart enlargement.
Feelings of helplessness when it comes to money leads to long-term depression and this significantly increases the risk of heart disease. Among other effects it triples the disease producing effects of smoking. Stress is the grim reaper that abruptly ends life by rupturing unstable plaque in a vital vessel or by triggering a little disturbance in heart rhythm.
Unfortunately based on the American Heart Association 2018, approximately 75% of black men and women develop high blood pressure by age 55 compared to 55% of white men and 40% of white women at the same age.
So because money is the number one cause for chronic and acute stress, and there are apparent links that connect people who are under severe psychological stress with picking up certain cancer creating behaviors, such as smoking, overeating, or drinking alcohol, it is safe for me to consider, conclude and hypothesize that specifically in the African American community Financial Cancer is the root cause for more blacks dying than any other cause combined.
Whew… Now I am out of breath, I said all of that to say, Financial Cancer has been killing our families for generations. Now that we know, we should start beginning to understand the importance of financial literacy in the African American community.