Strokes in Mexican-Americans to Jump 350%, Study says

Strokes are projected to jump by 350 percent among Mexican-Americans in the next four decades, according to a recent statistical analysis.

The startling numbers were presented at the American Stroke Association’s annual international conference. Scientists say more research is needed to figure out why the projected numbers  jump so drastically. Stroke among Mexican-Americans is expected to rise from about 26,000 in 2010 to 120,000 in 2050, researchers said.

The stroke rate among whites is expected to rise from 300,000 in 2010 to 500,000 in 2050 – a 75 percent increase.

"The tremendous number of strokes projected has large personal, social and economic consequences for the United States," Shawnita Sealy-Jefferson, an investigator at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in a statement.

The projections come from U.S. Census data culled by the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi Project from January 2000 to December 2008. The Texas study compares strokes in non-Hispanic whites and Mexican-Americans, the largest subgroup of Hispanics. The project collects blood samples on stroke patients for genetic studies. It also conducts “stroke surveillance” in Mexico.

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Both hemorrhagic and ischemic (blood clot) stroke were included in the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health. The project took incidence rates and multiplied by age and sex counts. The project says it will now explore reasons for the increased stroke rates, and the burden on Mexicans.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in this country, and the third leading cause of death.

“Efforts to prevent stroke and reduce stroke-related disability in both Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic whites are critical,” said Lynda D. Lisabeth, co-author of the study and associate professor of Department of Epidemiology at University of Michigan. “Lifestyle changes can reduce one’s risk for stroke.”

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