Learn More About Strokes and African American Women

Do Statistics Lie or is There a Way to Make a Change Today

A frightening statistic: One half of all African American women will die from heart disease or stroke according to the National Stroke Association.

According to the National Stroke Association, one out of every two African Americans may die from strokes as compared to Whites or Caucasians. The African American tends to have strokes earlier in life than Caucasians and African Americans are more likely to become disabled, than any other group. (1)

In today's time with modern medicine available, this news is absolutely staggering. African Americans are more likely to have a stroke than any other racial group in America. "It is time to make a change", is more than an Obama slogan, it is a matter of life and death.


Why are African Americans at a Greater Risk

  • Hypertension - High blood pressure is a silent killer. A disease that strikes without symptoms. One in three African Americans has a hypertension problem.
  • Diabetes- Patients with diabetes have a larger chance of having a stroke.
  • Smoking- If smoking, stop and seek help. The risk from smoking doubles the chances of having a stroke.
  • Being Overweight - Going on a healthy diet will reduce the chances of having a stroke.
  • Sickle Cell Anemia - This genetic disorder is common with African Americans. A stroke could happen if some of the sickle-shaped cells block a blood vessel to the brain. (1)
Stroke Risk Score Card (1)


Warning Signs of a Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Differences Between TIA (Transient ischemic attack) and Strokes

A TIA resembles a stroke as it has similar symptoms, but the TIA last for only a short time. Sudden numbness or weakness down one side of the body may last a few minutes or hours where in a stroke they last for over 24 hours. It is necessary to understand the difference as your life depends on this.

TIAs may signal an impending stroke and should be treated with care. Nearly half of the patients who have TIAs, have a stroke within five years. African American Women tend to have a stroke within 1 year after a TIA.(caused by a blood clot). (2)

Health Lifestyle Changes

  • Diet- Change to a healthy diet which has little or no salt. Sea salt may be used as an alternative. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, low proteins such as fish and plenty of water. Follow the Mediterranean Diet plan with nuts and seeds added. Use olive oil and wine in moderation. The Mediterranean diet cuts stroke risks for women according to researchers in Boston. (4)
  • Exercise - Start walking thirty minutes per day and build up to one hour slowly.
  • Diabetes and Hypertension - See the doctor for remedies as quick as possible.
  • Smoking and Alcoholism - STOP!
Changing one's lifestyle is not hard when there is a chance of an impending stroke. Starting today to make changes, just might save a life.

  1. National Stroke Association
  2. American Heart Association
  3. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
  4. Reference: Fung, Teresa, et alMediterranean Diet and incdidnece of and mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke in women. Circulation, 119 (2009): 1,093-1,100.
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