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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.

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