It has long been known that blacks are at a higher risk of having stroke than whites, but the reasons for the race-ethnic disparities in stroke incidence and mortality remain unclear. A study conducted to examine the racial and ethnic differences in strokes has come out with a finding that might help explain why blacks are at an increased risk of repeat stroke than whites.
The research, a part of the Georgetown University Medical Center Stroke Disparities Program, led by Chelsea Kidwell, studied 162 patients who were treated for their initial stroke at hospitals in the Washington, D.C. area. The average age of the study subjects was 59 - with 53 percent of them being male and 77 percent being black.
A year after their stroke, half of the study subjects had high blood pressure despite taking blood pressure medications. It was also observed that at year 1, 63 percent of black patients had high blood pressure compared to 38 percent of whites.
High blood pressure is the most significant known risk factor for stroke and reducing blood pressure can cut in half the risk of having a second stroke, says Kidwell, the lead author of the study.
The study identified that those who were married or those who lived in a health care facility had lower blood pressure among individuals. The reason being the two social factors will help stay the patients true to diet.
Commenting on the study, Kidwell noted that the data don't reveal the reasons for the racial and ethnic differences in strokes, though some possible factors to consider are diet, exercise and stress levels.
The study was published August 16, 2012, in the journal Stroke.
Kidwell's team continues to investigate disparities between races that might account for why blacks are at a higher risk of having strokes.
by RTT Staff Writer
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