- Both blacks and Hispanics, mostly of Caribbean descent, were found to have a higher risk of stroke than non-Hispanic whites living in the same New York City neighborhoods.
- The increased stroke risk persisted into old age (70 and older), and it appeared to be related to low socioeconomic status and other heart disease and stroke risk factors.
Embargoed until 4 a.m. CT/5 a.m. ET Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020
This study will be simultaneously published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
DALLAS, Feb. 12, 2020 — Both Blacks and Hispanics of Caribbean descent living in Northern Manhattan have a significantly higher risk of stroke than their non-Hispanic, white neighbors, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2020 – Feb. 19-21 in Los Angeles, a world premier meeting for researchers and clinicians dedicated to the science of stroke and brain health.
While previous research documented an increased stroke risk among blacks and Mexican Americans, studies in Northern Manhattan have been the first to document the heightened risk for Hispanics of Caribbean descent.
Researchers from the University of Miami and Columbia University analyzed stroke risk in almost 3,300 people (average age 69; 37% men; 24% black; 21% white; 52% Hispanic) participating in the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), an ongoing, community-based study that started in 1993 focused on stroke rates and risk factors.
Over an average follow-up time of more than 13 years, 460 participants had strokes, the majority of which were ischemic strokes (caused by a clot in an artery feeding the brain). Researchers also found:
Overall, men had a 48% increased rate of stroke, even after adjusting for socioeconomic status and stroke risk factors;
Compared with non-Hispanic whites, blacks had a 50% increased risk of stroke, even after adjusting for sociodemographics, including education and insurance;
The disparity in stroke risk between blacks and whites was highest in women and persisted into old age (70 and older);
Compared with non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics had a 50% increased risk of stroke, and the disparity was substantially reduced, except for among women 70 and older, after adjusting for socioeconomic status; and
By age 85, the highest stroke incidence rate was in Hispanics.
“Previous research has suggested that racial and ethnic disparities in stroke risk are greater at younger ages and dissipate as people get older, so we were surprised to find that the differences remained strong in women over 70 years old,” said Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., lead author of the study, an epidemiologist and associate scientist in neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. “Disparities in stroke risk among elderly minorities are persistent. Identifying minority populations at a higher risk for stroke and targeting their modifiable risk factors are public health priorities.”
In addition to socioeconomic status, the study adjusted for the following stroke risk factors: smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, body mass index, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
“It’s important for everyone to know their stroke risk factors, take their prescribed medications and make lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk,” Gardener said. “Risk factor management starting at or before middle age is key in reducing stroke risk, especially among blacks and Hispanics who are at increased risk.”
Co-authors are Ralph L. Sacco, M.D.; Tatjana Rundek, M.D., Ph.D.; Consuelo Mora-McLaughlin, B.S.; Ying Kuen Cheung, Ph.D.; and Mitchell S. Elkind, M.D. Author disclosures are available in the abstract.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health.
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- ISC17 News Release: Many stroke patients do not receive life-saving therapy
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- For more news at ASA International Stroke Conference 2020, follow us on Twitter @HeartNews #ISC20.
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The American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference (ISC) is the world’s premier meeting dedicated to the science of stroke and brain health. ISC 2020 will be held February 19-21 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California. The 2 ½-day conference features more than 1,600 compelling scientific presentations in 21 categories that emphasize basic, clinical and translational science for health care professionals and researchers. These science and other clinical presentations will provide attendees with a better understanding of stroke and brain health to help improve prevention, treatment and outcomes for the more than 800,000 Americans who have a stroke each year. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the U.S. Worldwide, cerebrovascular accidents (stroke) are the second leading cause of death and the third leading cause of disability, according to the World Health Organization. Engage in the International Stroke Conference on social media via #ISC20.
About the American Stroke Association
The American Stroke Association is a relentless force for a world with fewer strokes and longer, healthier lives. We team with millions of volunteers and donors to ensure equitable health and stroke care in all communities. We work to prevent, treat and beat stroke by funding innovative research, fighting for the public’s health, and providing lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based association was created in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit strokeassociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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