Experts Call for Stroke Awareness

Health officials are calling for better education and research to improve detecting and treating strokes among U.S. minorities.

That’s because a wide gap exists between whites and minorities when it comes to all aspects of stroke care, according to a joint scientific statement from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

“We see disparities in every aspect of stroke care, from lack of awareness of stroke risk factors and symptoms to delayed arrival to the emergency room and increased waiting time,” said Salvador Cruz-Flores, lead author, in a news release. Cruz-Flores is the director of the Souers Stroke Institute at St. Louis University in Missouri.

“These disparities continue throughout the spectrum of the delivery of care, from acute treatment to rehabilitation.”

Risk factors for having a stroke vary among racial and ethnic groups, according to the news release.

African-Americans have a high prevalence of hypertension, diabetes and obesity – all risk factors for a stroke – while Hispanic-Americans have a high prevalence of metabolic syndrome and diabetes compared to whites and African-Americans.

“It is important for members of ethnic and racial minority groups to understand they are particularly predisposed to have risk factors for heart disease and stroke,” Cruz-Flores said. “They need to understand these diseases are preventable and treatable.”

Education for the public and health professionals can improve stroke care for minorities, he said.

Minority groups make up at least 28 percent of the U.S. population. This percentage is expected to double by the year 2050, according to the news release.

Source: American Heart Association, American Stroke Association

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