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May is National Stroke Awareness Month
Sponsored by the Union Bethel Family Health and Fitness Ministry
Dr. Andrea Taylor, President

Stroke Risk Factors for African-Americans
One half of all African American women will die from stroke or heart disease.

African Americans are twice as likely to die from stroke as Caucasians. The rate of first strokes in African Americans is almost double that of Caucasians, and strokes tend to occur earlier in life for African Americans than Caucasians. Additionally, African American stroke survivors are more likely to become disabled and experience difficulties with daily living and activities.

The statistics are staggering -- in fact, African Americans are more impacted by stroke than any other racial groups within the American population.


Not all of the reasons are clear why African Americans have an increased risk of stroke. Some risk factors play a major role. African Americans have a higher rate of:
  • High blood pressure: The number one risk factor for stroke, and 1 in 3 African Americans suffer from high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes have a higher stroke risk.
  • Sickle cell anemia: The most common genetic disorder amongst African Americans. If sickle-shaped cells block a blood vessel to the brain, a stroke can result.
  • Smoking: Risk for stroke doubles when you smoke. If you stop smoking today, your stroke risk will immediately begin to decrease.
  • Obesity: Adopting a lower-sodium (salt), lower-fat diet and becoming more physically active may help lower blood pressure and risk for stroke.
  • If a person has one or more of these risk factors, it's even more important to learn about stroke symptoms and response and the lifestyle and medical changes that can be made to prevent a stroke.

Interesting Facts:

1. African Americans have twice the mortality from stroke compared with Caucasians.
2. African Americans have more severe and disabling strokes compared with Caucasians.
3. African American women have a lower 1-year survival following ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot) compared with Caucasians.
4. African Americans have twice the risk of first ever strokes compared with Caucasians.
5. Among those aged 20 to 44 years of age, African Americans are 2.4 times more likely to have a stroke compared with Caucasians.
6. African Americans are significantly less likely to receive tPA, the only FDA-approved treatment for stroke, compared with Caucasians.
Disclaimer:  Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church does not have any intention to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health. All Content provided on or through the Site:(i) is provided for informational purposes only, (ii) is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment, and (iii) is not designed to promote or endorse any medical practice, program or agenda or any medical tests, products or procedures. If you are unsure about your medical condition, consult a licensed physician. Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is not liable for any injuries and/ or losses as a result of relying upon information contained herein.

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