Race Predicts Stroke Risk

Stroke risk and hypertension are higher for certain ethnicities

(RxWiki News) Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability. Stroke cuts off blood supply to the brain. It is the brain's number one enemy.

African Americans are more likely to have a stroke. A recent study looked at racial differences in blood pressure and risk of stroke. The results suggest African Americans with hypertension are three times more likely to have a stroke.

More African Americans have hypertension. They also tend to have trouble controlling their high blood pressure. Not controlling it can lead to stroke.

"Have your blood pressure checked regularly."

Dr. George Howard and colleagues led the study to determine racial differences in high blood pressure and stroke. The participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) were used for this study.

Researchers reviewed files for 27,748 African American and white men and women. They were over the age of 45 and followed for 4.5 years. Information about their blood pressure and if they had a stroke was pulled from their records.

During the study period, 715 participants had a stroke. Overall, those with high blood pressure had a 14 percent increased risk of stroke. White participants with high blood pressure had a 8% increased risk of stroke. African Americans had a 24% risk increase.

African Americans between the ages of 45 to 65 are 3 times more likely to have a stroke, compared to whites.

African Americans have the highest rate of hypertension in the world. Research aimed at ways to control high blood pressure in this group is needed.

"There is increasing appreciation that, while blacks are more likely than whites to be aware of their hypertension and are also more likely to be treated for their hypertension, they are remarkably less likely to have their blood pressure controlled" authors commented in the study.

The authors noted the study had only 715 participants who had a stroke. The study is ongoing and more data will be examined in the future.

This study was published by the Archives of Internal Medicine online. It was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The authors disclosed no conflict of interest.

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Review Date: 
December 17, 2012