Confused by so many studies and so much conflicting advice? Fierce makes it easy for you by getting to the bottom line of what’s really new and relevant for black women. Here’s a customized takeaway on new reports about prescription drugs, fibroids, salt, breast cancer and low blood sugar.

Blacks Unlikely to Ask for Lower-Cost Prescription Drugs

A survey of people visiting an emergency room department for medical care reveals that black patients are less aware of low-cost prescription drug options and programs and that they are less likely to ask about them.

White patients were more likely to know about low-cost prescription programs, researchers found in a study led by Preeti Dalawari, M.D., of St. Louis University School of Medicine.

Approximately 72 percent of African-American study participants said they felt they could comfortably ask a doctor for cheaper medications, compared to 83 percent of whites studied.

Fibroids May Harm Quality of Life and Career

It’s not all in your head and you are not alone. A new survey of 1,000 women found that black women felt their lives were greatly affected by their struggle with fibroids.  Non-malignant, uterine fibroid tumors affect 80 percent to 90 percent of black women.

In work published in the Journal of Women’s Health, researchers found that women delayed treatment an average of 3.6 years, with 32 percent of black women studied reported waiting more than five years. Study respondents explained that their fears kept them from seeking medical attention. Seventy-nine percent were afraid the fibroids would grow and they would need a hysterectomy; 55 percent worried about sexual function, body image and hopelessness. And 66 percent worried about missed days from work, with 24 percent saying that dealing with fibroids had a negative effect on their careers. Most of the women also said they wanted less invasive, uterus-sparing treatments.

Another Reason to Shake the Salt

Even if you are not paying close attention to the impact of salt in the diet on hypertension and heart disease (and you should be) new research shows that salt in the diet may promote autoimmune diseases. This is a special concern for black women who are more likely to develop autoimmune illnesses such as lupus or sarcoidosis.

The study found that salt actually encouraged the activity of a specific type of T-cell (the cells that power the immune system) in a way that greatly increased inflammation in the body. The study team is now working on a second project to confirm the findings.

New Treatment Knocks Out Aggressive Breast Cancer

Highly aggressive or “triple negative” breast cancer earned its name in part because it is so difficult to treat. Chemotherapy can shrink such tumors for a while, but many patients develop a resistance to existing drugs.

A new study from MIT reports the discovery of a new therapy that can actually shut down one of the genes that the cancer uses to escape the chemotherapy drugs —disabling the tumor and allowing the patient to take lower doses of medication. The new treatment successfully shrunk “triple negative” tumors in mice. The research is great news for black women who, along with women in some European countries, are more likely to develop this form of breast cancer.

Low Blood Sugar Is Better for the Brain

Even if you do not have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar low may be important for brain function. People with high blood sugar level are more likely to have difficulty remembering things, according to new work reported by the American Academy of Neurology.

Study participant’s memory skills were assessed and compared to blood sugar levels. Those with the lowest blood sugar levels scored highest on the test. The researchers reported that even people with normal blood sugar might consider cutting down on sugar as a way to ward off cognitive decline.

Sheree Crute is editor-in-chief of