Carol Forsloff – “The tremendous number of strokes projected has large personal, social and economic consequences for the United States,” said Shawnita Sealy-Jefferson, M.P.H., an investigator at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. disabling features of stroke have been known for hundreds of years, as shown by this image, described by Hippocrates – wikimedia commons
This dramatic statement came during the International Stroke Association conference today. Small news? Not all, according to the thesis presented by this group. The fact is stroke cases are increasing rapidly, especially among Hispanics.
A study presented today tells us the rate of strokes among Mexican-Americans is expected to rise 350 percent from 2010 to 2050. The rate of increase among non-Hispanic whites is anticipated to rise 75 percent in that same period.
According to the American Stroke Association, stroke accounts for one out of every 18 deaths and is the third leading cause of death in the country. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death. It is, however, the long-term health problems, the disabilities caused by stroke that impacts the costs of health care. It is seen as potentially having devastating impact on the budgets of major health programs.
Diabetes is a risk factor for stroke. This underlying disease, found at the core of many stroke patients, is also growing at a rapid rate, as is heart disease. These triple plays of stroke, heart disease and diabetes will play out for years to come. They tell us this news is important enough to take proper precautions and warn like experts warn about weather emergencies so people take action today. It is news heard before, but the numbers dramatically increase, as the recent study points out. That’s why it is important right now.
Health experts say pay attention. This is a tsunami health warning. It isn’t a wave, or a wind passing through. It is you and me, kid, for those reaching middle age and over. But ischemic attacks, that impact the young, are rising in rates as well.
So what’s the answer. We’ve heard it before. Fruits, vegetables and exercise are on that plate of prevention. Still there is more, much more to the problems faced. It’s an attitude that says there’s a future, and to secure it individually means to eat right to avoid diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Experts at the International Association meeting today underlined what needs to happen, in the press release schedule of abstracts.
“Efforts to prevent stroke and reduce stroke-related disability in both Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic whites are critical,” said Lynda D. Lisabeth, Ph.D., M.P.H.,co-author and associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan. “Lifestyle changes can reduce one’s risk for stroke.”
More research is also needed to understand the excess burden among Mexican-Americans, she said. “Further study of stroke in Mexican-Americans may clarify new intervention targets. Our group is currently targeting stroke prevention through Catholic churches, which might be a novel setting for successful intervention in Mexican-Americans.”
This recent study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Co-authors are : Devin L. Brown, M.D., M.S.; Lewis B. Morgenstern, M.D.; and Melinda A. Smith, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.