Black women at higher risk of stroke

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    A new study by researchers at the University of South Florida has found that young Black adults are at three times greater risk of suffering a stroke than their White and Latino peers.

    The study looked at more than 16,000 cases from 2001 to 2006 where young adults in Florida were hospitalized for stroke.  The ages of patients ranged from 25 to 49 years old.

    "Our study shows this Black-White disparity hasn’t improved,” Dr. Elizabeth Barnett Pathak, the study’s lead author, said in a statement.  “In fact, it’s clear that the gap emerges even at relatively young ages – among adults hospitalized for strokes in their 20s and 30s – and widens with increasing age."

    Most shocking of all, women made up 56 percent of Black patients studied.

    It was found that 8 to 10 percent of patients died as a result of their stroke.  Of the cases examined, Black people were 15 percent more likely to die than Whites and Latinos.  However, researchers noted that they were also more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, morbid obesity and diabetes.

    "[The study] points toward an urgent need for primary prevention of hypertension, obesity, and other stroke risk factors among African Americans to eliminate disparities in stroke."

    The study didn’t find any change in the number of young adults being hospitalized for stroke, but researchers are concerned that could change due to the economy. 

    "When people stop taking their blood pressure pills and other medications because they can no longer afford it, they have strokes and heart attacks,"said Dr. Michael Sloan, a professor of neurology and the director of the USF Stroke Program at Tampa General Hospital.

     

    – Sonya Eskridge
     

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