(NAPSI)-Stroke, the third leading cause of death among Americans, can be especially devastating for African-Americans. In fact, statistics show that there is a two to threefold greater stroke incidence for African-Americans than for Caucasians.
Most people who are at risk for a stroke meet one or more of the following criteria:
55 years of age or over who have had a stroke or have a family history of stroke
High blood pressure
Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans have a higher incidence of stroke risk factors including diabetes and high blood pressure. African-Americans develop high blood pressure earlier in life and their average blood pressures are much higher overall compared with Caucasians. In fact, the rate of high blood pressure for African-Americans in the U.S. is among the highest in the world. As a result, compared with Caucasians, African-Americans have a 1.3 times greater rate of nonfatal stroke and a 1.8 times greater rate of fatal stroke.
Compounding these risk factors, racial and ethnic minorities in the United States often receive a lower quality of care than Caucasians and are therefore less likely to receive adequate diagnostic and screening tests or disease management.
“It is important that African-Americans understand their risk of stroke and get the medical attention they need,” said Dr. Jose Suarez, director, Neurointensive Care Unit, University Hospital of Cleveland. “It is particularly important for racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. to arm themselves with as much information as possible so they can talk to their doctors and develop appropriate plans to combat this disease.”