Randy Jackson Hospitalized for Possible Heart Attack

Cynthia Dermody

Randy Jackson
Michael's younger brother, Randy Jackson.
Nearly one year after his older brother Michael Jackson died of a heart attack at his home, younger brother Randy Jackson is in the hospital for what some say may have been a mild heart attack yesterday.

The 48-year-old Jackson, who hasn't caved to plastic surgery pressures like the rest of his family, complained of chest pains Tuesday and was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where he is currently awaiting the outcome of tests, the Associated Press reports.

While it's upsetting to hear that another Jackson is suffering from health issues, the incident doesn't come as a total shock when you consider one critical fact:

African-American males have a 30 percent greater chance of dying from heart disease than white men, but are less likely to be diagnosed with it, according the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

So what's up with black males? Why aren't they spotting this problem earlier and getting help?

Before you pull out the race card and call a medical discrimination foul, look at the stats: African-American adults are 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, according to the HHS. And they're 10 percent less likely than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to have their blood pressure under control. Hypertension is one of the leading contributors to coronary disease and heart attack.

Race aside, just look in your own family. Men -- regardless of color -- are less likely to go to the doctor for regular physicals than women. High blood pressure has no symptoms. If men feel good, they think they have no need for a doctor. Plus, some men, especially in certain minority groupings, avoid medical care so as not appear vulnerable. This according to a 2008 study that found black men are often unaware they have high blood pressure.

Access to good health care is not an issue for the Jackson family, with its celebrity and great wealth, so medical equality does not seem to be the issue here. Perhaps Randy's chest pains were brought on by the stresses he's been under of late.

Just Monday, Randy and other members of the Jackson family attended a legal hearing implicating Michael's doctor in the artist's death. Randy also recently managed to quash an unauthorized tribute concert in Rome on June 25, the anniversary of his brother's death.

At any rate, let's hope the timing and the similarities are a wake-up call for Randy and other Jackson family members. Michael's death was ruled a homicide due to an overdose of sedatives, but the official cause of death was a heart attack. Who's to say if high blood pressure contributed to his demise, but there's no denying that heart disease runs in families.


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