75% of African-Americans during a stroke telephoned a relative or friend while only 12% called 911, Dr. Rani Whitfield revealed in the journal Stroke. Even though 89% said they would call emergency services if they had a stroke, a survey found that when one does occur people do not do exactly what they say they will do. The American Heart Association and the Congressional Black Caucus are currently discussing ways to reduce stroke risk among African-Americans.
The American Heart Association survey found that 43% of 18 to 24 year-old African Americans are not worried about cardiovascular diseases or conditions, especially stroke. The researchers also found that only 1 in every 5 are engaged in healthy behaviors. Hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity and cholesterol levels only seem to be of interest to one-quarter of young, black American adults. Just one third of young African-Americans are aware of the fact that race/ethnicity has an impact on stroke and heart disease risk.
African-Americans have twice the risk of having a stroke compared to their Caucasian counterparts. This survey reveals how little young adults seem to know about this.
"Most young people believe they don't need to worry about stroke even when they have risk factors for the disease or are at risk for developing those risk factors.
The surveys drive home why it is important for African-Americans of all ages to seek emergency care when they're experiencing the symptoms of a stroke and to take steps to learn whether they are at risk for stroke.
The good news is that the Affordable Care Act gives consumers new assistance for knowing their risk and taking steps to reduce it by making preventive screenings and services more available and affordable."
Chrisette Michele, a Grammy-award winning R&B artist, also the national spokesperson for Power to End Stroke, said:
"My mother is currently recovering from a stroke. My maternal grandmother had a hole in her heart and several other heart problems because of the lack of record keeping in the black community so many years ago. They weren't fully aware of their health history. It's important to keep health records and to know your family health history."
The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Congressional Black Caucus launched the 31 Days of Power campaign. May is American Stroke Month. There will be several events nationwide to educate African-Americans about stroke, what risk factors are linked to stroke, treatment options, and how to identify warning signs.
It is hoped the campaign will help African-Americans, who have been most affected by heart disease and stroke, to be better prepared and subsequently control and treat their conditions more effectively.
Stroke risk can be considerably reduced if people take some simple lifestyle steps, such as:
- Follow a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Don't smoke
- Consume alcohol in moderation
- Become more physically active
"The burden of stroke in America is staggering, particularly among people of color. We believe in empowerment via enfranchisement. Not only is awareness imperative but so is access to affordable, quality healthcare and preventive services. That is why the association supports the Affordable Care Act and believes we should be working to build on the law, not repeal or undermine it."
Some facts about stroke in the USA:
- Approximately 795,000 suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year, one every 40 seconds
- 137,000 die from stroke each year
- Every 4 minutes somebody in America dies of stroke (on average)
- 60% of stroke deaths are among females, 40% among males
- 41.7 white males per 100,000 die of stroke each year, 41.1 white females, 67.7 black males and 57 black females
- People paid approximately $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability in 2010
"31 Days of Power - Get Involved"
Written by Christian Nordqvist