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For Barbara Eugene, going to her doctor can be something to dread. She worries that the doctor will find something wrong. She worries about being alone. And then there’s what the doctor will say – and how he’ll say it.

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“Listening to the doctor speak a language that is almost foreign to me is the worst part of it all,” said Eugene , 62,of Port Orange, Fla.

“I am often alone and I can never understand what he is talking about. I often stop him mid-sentence and ask him to repeat himself. It’s usually difficult for both him and me.”

“When I first noticed small sores on my legs, I quickly ran to the doctor’s office. I was referred to so many different doctors. No one ever told me why I was being referred. It wasn’t until I was sent to a pulmonary doctor, that I knew it was something serious. After two years of being referred to so many different doctors and being misdiagnosed twice, I finally knew what was wrong with my body. I had Sarcoidosis,” an illness that causes patches of chronic inflammatory cells to form, sometimes on organs.

Visiting a doctor’s office can be a unenjoyable chore for anyone. Yet research shows it can be especially stressful for African-Americans. African-Americans are at a higher risk for serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cancer and a host of other diseases. Even with those high risks, many older African-Americans avoid visiting the doctor and scheduling regular checkups.

Whatever your background, patients who wrestle with scheduling a medical appointment can share some common concerns:
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