Ten Little Known Black History Facts
February 7, 2019
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February 10, 2019

African-Americans and Stroke


Minorities and Stroke

Minorities have higher stroke risks, stroke occurrence at an earlier age, and for some more severe strokes. Although certain risk factors for stroke, such as genetics or family history cannot be controlled, others such as high blood pressure or diabetes can go unrecognized. Knowing your risk factors for stroke and controlling them is the first step in preventing a stroke. Here is a closer look at stroke in different minority groups.

The statistics are staggering—in fact, African-Americans are more impacted by stroke than any other racial groups within the American population. African-Americans are twice as likely to die from stroke as Caucasians and their rate of first strokes is almost double that of Caucasians.

Strokes in this population tend to occur earlier in life.  And as survivors, African-Americans are more likely to become disabled and experience difficulties with daily living and activities.

Why are African-Americans at higher risk?

Not all of the reasons are clear why African-Americans have an increased risk of stroke. However, research points to the following risk factors as major reasons:

  • High blood pressure: The number one risk factor for stroke, and 1 in 3 African-Americans suffer from high blood pressure. They are also less likely to have it under control than their non-Hispanic Caucasian counterparts.
  • 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. They are also much less likely to engage in active physical activity.

Understand Stroke

Decorative picture of the hear, brain, and blood vessels.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability. Yet, research shows that too few people know what a stroke is and how to recognize when stroke is happening.

Learn more about stroke, how to prevent a stroke from happening to you, and how learning the signs and symptoms could save the life of your loved ones.

What Is Stroke?

A stroke happens when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. A stroke can cause you to permanently lose speech, movement and memory. Read more about what a stroke is, types, and signs and symptoms of a stroke.

Recognizing Stroke

Each year about 185,000 people die from a stroke. By learning the many warning signs of a stroke – you can help save a life.

Preventing a Stroke

Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. Stroke can happen to anyone—at any time and any age. Arming yourself with information about stroke prevention is the first step in saving your life and the life of your loved ones.

Impact of Stroke

With nearly 7 million stroke survivors and as fifth leading cause of death, stroke has a large impact on society. Learn more about the impact of stroke on women, minorities, and kids.

What is stroke?

A stroke is a “brain attack”. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.

How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. For example, someone who had a small stroke may only have minor problems such as temporary weakness of an arm or leg. People who have larger strokes may be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.

Stroke By The Numbers

  • Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.
  • A stroke happens every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Every 4 minutes someone dies from stroke.
  • Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

A brain aneurysm burst or a weakened blood vessel leak (hemorrhagic) is one of two types of stroke. While the least common of the two types of stroke it most often results in death.

More about Hemorrhagic Stroke

Ischemic Stroke

A blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot (ischemic) is one type of stroke. Learn more about the types of ischemic stroke.

More about Ischemic Stroke

What Is TIA?

When blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period of time, also called transient ischemic attack (TIA), it can mimic stroke-like symptoms. These appear and last less than 24 hours before disappearing. Learn more about the signs, your risk, and TIA management.

More about TIA

Stroke Facts

Although stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability, many myths surround this disease. Test how much you know about stroke today

Learn Stroke Facts

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