Strokes in African Americans
Most strokes in African Americans occur due to high blood pressure and a much higher number of African Americans have uncontrolled blood pressure. A quarter of all strokes occur in the presence of atrial fibrillation (a fib) and while representing 13 percent of the US population, African Americans experience almost twice that percentage of all strokes (26%).
Strokes are Worse in Blacks
And when a stroke occurs, African Americans have them earlier in life and present with more severe and disabling conditions. The “Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes” group concluded that “compared with other race/ethnicity groups, (African American) patients were less likely to receive IV tissue-type plasminogen activator <3 hours, early antithrombotics, antithrombotics at discharge, and lipid-lowering medication prescribed at discharge,” a study looking at over 200,000 patients showed.
Not surprisingly, with these prescriptive deficiencies in play, data analysis also showed a persistently increased re-hospitalization rate in African Americans at both 30 days and one year for all causes. African Americans also have a 2.4 times higher rate of recurrent strokes than white Americans, and the highest death rate of any racial group.
Stroke patients overseen by neurologists were almost 4 times more likely to receive IV clot dissolving medicine than those seen by non-neurologists for all races and ethnicities (study from the Baylor College of Medicine ), but unfortunately African Americans were half as likely as whites to be seen by a neurologist when presenting with a stroke.
Aspirin to reduce Strokes in African Americans
Aspirin use is decreased among African Americans as compared to whites while the indications for aspirin use are actually higher in African Americans. More African Americans should be taking aspirin because it reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease, and colon cancer. And this was proven at the low dose of 81 mg. The risk for gastrointestinal bleed is much lower than the risk of stroke, heart attack, etc.
African Americans over age 40 should be taking aspirin to help with the increased incidence of colon cancer, heart disease, and strokes.
Overall, prevention experts (USPSTF ) recommend referring adults who have stroke risk factors and are obese to intense behavioral counseling to promote a healthy diet and more physical activity. That means going to your doctor and having a detailed conversation about what you do . . . and what you eat. For example, by decreasing your intake of salt and fried foods, lowering the blood pressure and getting proper exercise, strokes in African Americans can greatly decrease.
Take a look at this video that explains why you need to start your medicine, keep taking it, and come in to make sure it is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Take care.
- Elizabeth Clarke, Master Teacher - December 29, 2019
- Cleveland State University Urban Health Program - December 25, 2019
- African American Healthcare Negatively Impacted by Bias-Driven Data - October 25, 2019
- Heart Failure in African Americans - April 22, 2018
- Heavy Smokers at Higher Risk for Diabetes - March 6, 2018
- Diabetes Differences in African Americans - February 27, 2018
- Love Your Kids, Not Your Guns - February 25, 2018
- More Sleep Apnea in African Americans - February 18, 2018
- Is Cholesterol Lowering Medicine Bad for You? - February 18, 2018
- Sleep Differences in African Americans - February 10, 2018