The main reason why black people in their middle age are more likely to die from strokes is because, statistically, they show higher rates for suffering a stroke.
And it is not a matter of race, but rather an issue of prevention. At middle age, black people appear to be four times more likely to die from a stroke when compared to white people.
The research was named Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), and it was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke. The study took upon the task of reviewing data of 29,681 people from the U.S.
Interviews were performed to evaluate the different risk factors that each participant was exposed to. Biological samples were collected, and they were visited by representatives of the research team to measure body weight, blood pressure, waist circumference, and weight.
Comparing stroke likelihood and race
The main risk factors taken into account were diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. The study revealed that black Americans are more likely to be affected by these ailments due to the lack of preventive behavior. According to lead researcher Dr. George Howard, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, physicians must focus on correctly addressing risk factors and prevention before the stroke occurs.
Strokes cost at least $2.3 billion for the U.S. health care system. Any effort that would allow reducing the number of stroke episodes among Americans is of great use for both the well-being of people and their financial stability. It is estimated that a stroke and all of its diverging events cost at least $104,000 for the patient.
A stroke is an event where the brain undergoes an interruption of regular blood flow. The patient may display paralysis, altered brain function, and slurred speech. Usually, strokes occur if an artery carrying blood to the brain becomes blocked or bursts. If the brain doesn’t receive a constant supply of blood, brain cells die. Although the damages caused by strokes can either be temporary or permanent, it has been proven that there is a better chance of recovery if the patient receives treatment as soon as possible.
In short, a FAST reaction may allow saving someone who is suffering from a stroke. It’s “FAST” because it stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call for emergency.
Stroke risk factors and minorities
The main risk factors that may cause a stroke are smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and high cholesterol. There is a greater chance of suffering a stroke if the patient is 55-years-old or older or a minority. It is pointed out by Stroke.org that minorities do have a higher chance of suffering a stroke at an early age, but still, they comment that the first step into dealing with risk factors is prevention.
Black people seem to be affected by strokes more than any other ethnicity in the United States. Hypertension tends to be the primary factor behind this, as at least one out of every three black Americans have high blood pressure. It was also noted that black people are less likely to have hypertension and diabetes under control, thus increasing the chance of suffering a stroke.
Minorities are widely vulnerable to suffering strokes as it is suggested by past research efforts. Hispanics, for example, display high obesity rates and significant cases of diabetes, where at least one out of every three adult Hispanics suffers from some form of diabetes. Physicians suggest that language barrier may be a factor associated with the Hispanic population being affected by a significantly larger number of strokes as they are not always able to seek health care at the right time.
In the case of Native Americans, heart disease is the first cause of death in this population, whereas stroke stands as the sixth. Younger Native Americans are more likely to suffer from strokes due to most of them being affected by the disease before they turn out 65. Smoking, obesity, and hypertension are also among the main risk factors that render Native Americans more susceptible to suffering strokes.
On the other hand, Asian-Americans have turned out to be less likely to suffer a stroke. The reason behind this is that they are sometimes less obese, thus having a steadier level of blood pressure. All of this when compared to other races, except white people, which show a 20 percent lower probability of suffering a stroke.
In all cases, strokes place a significant burden on the patient and its family. It takes a very long time for the patient to regain strength, endurance, and coordination. Depending on the severity of the stroke, one or more limbs may become paralyzed. There is no guarantee that the patient will regain full mobility. Usually, post-stroke therapy focuses on allowing the patient to become as independent as it is possible.
The rehabilitation regime dictated by the doctors may or may not be sufficient to achieve full recovery. It is all a matter of will and, more importantly, preventing the stroke from happening in the first place by carrying out a healthy lifestyle.
Source: American Heart Association