Many African Americans Underestimate Their Risk for Stroke, According to a New Survey

Yolanda King, Daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Helps American Stroke

Association Launch Power to End Stroke



Nov 03, 2005, 00:00 ET from American Heart Association

    DALLAS, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- It happened to Coretta Scott King, Luther
 Vandross, and Robert Guillaume.  And it may happen to you -- a stroke.  In
 fact, blacks are almost twice as likely to have a stroke as whites, and about
 100,000 African Americans will suffer from one this year, according to the
 American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.
     That's why Yolanda King, daughter of Coretta Scott King and the late Dr.
 Martin Luther King, Jr., has teamed with the American Stroke Association to
 launch Power To End Stroke -- an aggressive education and awareness initiative
 to reach African Americans, who are at greater risk than other ethnic groups.
     Through Power To End Stroke, the association is working to:
      *  create awareness around the serious health disparity of stroke in
         African Americans;
      *  drive the message that in many cases, stroke may be preventable;
      *  increase knowledge of the risk factors for stroke, particularly high
         blood pressure and diabetes;
      *  give information to African Americans to help reduce their risks.
     An American Stroke Association survey of African Americans, conducted in
 August by Harris Interactive, found that 70 percent of African American adults
 think they are knowledgeable about stroke.  However,
      *  Only 30 percent correctly define stroke;
      *  49 percent know stroke symptoms; and
      *  Only 43 percent recognize that African Americans are the racial/ethnic
         group at the most risk for stroke; and
      *  51 percent of African-American adults do not think that they will ever
         have a stroke.
 
     "We want African Americans to first take the association's stroke pledge,"
 King said.  "It's a promise for people to sign committing to not just
 "survive," but "thrive" by doing their part to make the right health choices
 for themselves, their families and their communities to prevent and overcome
 stroke."  The pledge may be shared with relatives and friends, and includes a
 reply card for people to request and receive stroke-related information and
 incentives throughout the year.
     The American Stroke Association encourages African Americans to know their
 family's health history, and work with their doctors to prevent and manage
 stroke risks.  "A substantial number of African Americans aren't making the
 connection that their ethnicity and family's history increases their stroke
 risk," said Bruce Ovbiagele, M.D., a neurologist at UCLA Westwood Hospital.
 "Some factors, such as family history, age, ethnicity and having a previous
 stroke, increase risk for stroke and can't be controlled.  Others, such as
 high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity or high cholesterol can be
 changed or treated."
     "Since my mother has suffered a stroke, I know that it is doubly important
 for my family and me to pay special attention to the risk factors that we can
 control or eliminate.  That's why we are taking the American Stroke
 Association's pledge and getting serious about reducing our stroke risks for
 ourselves and our legacy," King said.
     "In most cases, stroke is not inevitable," said Dr. Ovbiagele.  "Taking
 simple steps now against even one risk factor can help reduce your risk of
 stroke."
     Join the movement to fight stroke because you are the power to end stroke:
      *  Put down the cigarettes and stop smoking.
      *  Observe advice from your doctor and know your family's medical
         history.
      *  Watch your weight and be physically active at least 30 minutes most
         days of the week.
      *  Eat healthfully, avoid foods high in saturated, trans fat, cholesterol
         and sodium.
      *  Regulate and control high blood pressure and diabetes.
     It is never too late to take action against stroke.  For more information
 about the American Stroke Association or how you can join the "movement" to
 fight stroke, call 1-888-4-STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org/power.
 
     About Yolanda King
     She is the first-born daughter of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther
 King, Jr.  Yolanda's mission is to encourage personal growth and positive
 social change through her artistic endeavors, including acting, producing,
 speaking and teaching.  Her passion for peace and positive change prompted her
 to found Higher Ground Productions, an organization dedicated to teaching
 people to celebrate diversity and embrace unity.
 
     About the American Stroke Association
     The goal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American
 Heart Association, is to reduce disability and death from stroke through
 research, education and advocacy.  In its 2003-04 fiscal year, the association
 spent $162.4 million on stroke.
 
     Methodology
     Harris Interactive conducted the survey on behalf of the American Stroke
 Association by telephone within the United States between August 10-31, 2005,
 among a nationwide cross section of 500 African-American adults age 18 or
 older.  All respondents were selected using Random-Digit-Dial (RDD).  Figures
 for age, sex, race, education, number of adults and number of voice/telephone
 lines in the household were weighted where necessary to align them with their
 actual proportions in the population.
 
     What's a stroke?
     A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or gets clogged.
 The affected part of the brain doesn't get the blood it needs and, in minutes,
 begins to die.  If you have a stroke, you could die, suffer paralysis or have
 trouble talking or understanding speech.  Your vision could be affected.  You
 could also lose emotional control or become depressed.  Each stroke has
 different effects.
 
     What are the types of stroke?
     If we consider an isolated blood vessel, blood flow to the brain tissue
 can be hampered in two ways:
      *  the vessel becomes blocked within (ischemic stroke)
         *  Ischemic stroke accounts for about 88 percent of all cases.
         *  Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood
            vessel supplying blood to the brain.  The part of the brain beyond
            the blockage becomes deprived of blood.
      *  the vessel ruptures, causing blood to leak into the brain (hemorrhagic
         stroke)
         *  Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 12 percent of stroke cases.
         *  Hemorrhagic strokes result from a weakened vessel on or in the
            brain that ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain.  The
            blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue.  The
            part of the brain downstream from the rupture becomes deprived of
            blood
 
     What are transient ischemic attacks?
     Also called TIAs, transient ischemic attacks are "mini" or warning
 strokes.  In a TIA, there is a temporary decrease in blood flow to a part of
 the brain and the typical stroke warning signs develop.  However, the
 obstruction  occurs for a short time and tends to resolve itself through
 normal mechanisms.  Even though the symptoms disappear after a short time,
 TIAs are strong indicators of a possible major stroke.  A TIA is considered a
 medical emergency.
 
     General Stroke Statistics
      *  About 700,000 Americans will have a new or recurrent stroke this year
         -- that's someone every 45 seconds.
      *  Stroke is the nation's No. 3 killer and a leading cause of severe,
         long-term disability.
      *  Over 162,000 people will die from a stroke this year.
      *  14 percent of people who survive a first stroke or TIA (transient
         ischemic attack) will have another one within one year.
      *  The length of time to recover from a stroke depends on severity.
         50 to 70 percent of stroke survivors regain functional independence,
         but 15 to 30 percent are permanently disabled.  20 percent require
         institutionalized care at three months after onset.
 
 
     Stroke and African Americans
     While anyone can have a stroke, knowing about and managing risk factors
 reduces risk.  African Americans are among those least aware of stroke risk
 factors, despite having a high prevalence of high blood pressure, obesity and
 tobacco use.  In fact,
 
      *  Blacks have almost twice the risk of first-ever strokes compared to
         whites.
      *  Blacks have higher death rates for stroke compared to whites.
      *  The prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans in the
         United States is the highest in the world.
      *  Among non-Hispanic blacks age 20 and older, 62.9 percent of men and
         77.2 percent of women are overweight or obese.
      *  In 2001, 27.7 percent of black or African-Americans only, used any
         tobacco product.  Heavy cigarette smoking approximately doubles a
         person's risk for stroke when compared to light smokers.
      *  Black women have higher prevalence rates of high blood pressure,
         obesity, physical inactivity, and diabetes than white women.
 
     What can I do to help prevent a stroke and the debilitating affects from
 stroke?
      *  See your doctor to check if you're at risk.
      *  Take recommended steps to control your risk factors.
      *  Know the warning signs.
      *  If you think you might be having a stroke or TIA ("mini-stroke"), call
         9-1-1 immediately or the emergency medical services (EMS) number.
     You can reduce your chances of having a stroke.  It starts by you becoming
 aware of your risk factors.  You can't change or control some of them; some
 you can -- by making a few changes in your daily habits or taking medicine as
 prescribed.
 
     How can I reduce my risk for stroke?
      *  Control your blood pressure
      *  Stop smoking
      *  Maintain a healthy weight
      *  Get physical activity at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the
         week
      *  Keep diabetes under control
 
     What are the warning signs of stroke?
      *  Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one
         side of the body
      *  Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
      *  Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
      *  Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
      *  Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
 
     Can I reduce the effects of stroke while I am having a stroke?
     In many cases, yes.  There's a treatment available for stroke if
 administered within the first three hours of the start of a stroke.  Most
 strokes are ischemic (caused by a blood clot), so clot-busting drugs, if
 administered early, can reduce long-term disability from stroke.  Your chances
 of walking away from a stroke greatly increase if those around you know how to
 recognize stroke and immediately call 9-1-1.
 
     Can I fully recover from a stroke?
     Yes.  Stroke rehabilitation involves several different therapies, and the
 sooner that rehabilitation begins, the greater the chance for recovery and
 leading a productive life.
      *  Most stroke survivors are left with a disability, but some recover
         completely or have only mild impairments.
      *  Some survivors with severe disabilities can be taught to walk and care
         for themselves again.
 
     Resources from the American Stroke Association can help you or a loved one
 work with your doctors and reach out to other stroke survivors to become
 stronger.  To contact us, call 1-888-4-STROKE or visit the American Stroke
 Association online at StrokeAssociation.org.
 
 

SOURCE American Heart Association
    DALLAS, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- It happened to Coretta Scott King, Luther
 Vandross, and Robert Guillaume.  And it may happen to you -- a stroke.  In
 fact, blacks are almost twice as likely to have a stroke as whites, and about
 100,000 African Americans will suffer from one this year, according to the
 American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.
     That's why Yolanda King, daughter of Coretta Scott King and the late Dr.
 Martin Luther King, Jr., has teamed with the American Stroke Association to
 launch Power To End Stroke -- an aggressive education and awareness initiative
 to reach African Americans, who are at greater risk than other ethnic groups.
     Through Power To End Stroke, the association is working to:
      *  create awareness around the serious health disparity of stroke in
         African Americans;
      *  drive the message that in many cases, stroke may be preventable;
      *  increase knowledge of the risk factors for stroke, particularly high
         blood pressure and diabetes;
      *  give information to African Americans to help reduce their risks.
     An American Stroke Association survey of African Americans, conducted in
 August by Harris Interactive, found that 70 percent of African American adults
 think they are knowledgeable about stroke.  However,
      *  Only 30 percent correctly define stroke;
      *  49 percent know stroke symptoms; and
      *  Only 43 percent recognize that African Americans are the racial/ethnic
         group at the most risk for stroke; and
      *  51 percent of African-American adults do not think that they will ever
         have a stroke.
 
     "We want African Americans to first take the association's stroke pledge,"
 King said.  "It's a promise for people to sign committing to not just
 "survive," but "thrive" by doing their part to make the right health choices
 for themselves, their families and their communities to prevent and overcome
 stroke."  The pledge may be shared with relatives and friends, and includes a
 reply card for people to request and receive stroke-related information and
 incentives throughout the year.
     The American Stroke Association encourages African Americans to know their
 family's health history, and work with their doctors to prevent and manage
 stroke risks.  "A substantial number of African Americans aren't making the
 connection that their ethnicity and family's history increases their stroke
 risk," said Bruce Ovbiagele, M.D., a neurologist at UCLA Westwood Hospital.
 "Some factors, such as family history, age, ethnicity and having a previous
 stroke, increase risk for stroke and can't be controlled.  Others, such as
 high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity or high cholesterol can be
 changed or treated."
     "Since my mother has suffered a stroke, I know that it is doubly important
 for my family and me to pay special attention to the risk factors that we can
 control or eliminate.  That's why we are taking the American Stroke
 Association's pledge and getting serious about reducing our stroke risks for
 ourselves and our legacy," King said.
     "In most cases, stroke is not inevitable," said Dr. Ovbiagele.  "Taking
 simple steps now against even one risk factor can help reduce your risk of
 stroke."
     Join the movement to fight stroke because you are the power to end stroke:
      *  Put down the cigarettes and stop smoking.
      *  Observe advice from your doctor and know your family's medical
         history.
      *  Watch your weight and be physically active at least 30 minutes most
         days of the week.
      *  Eat healthfully, avoid foods high in saturated, trans fat, cholesterol
         and sodium.
      *  Regulate and control high blood pressure and diabetes.
     It is never too late to take action against stroke.  For more information
 about the American Stroke Association or how you can join the "movement" to
 fight stroke, call 1-888-4-STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org/power.
 
     About Yolanda King
     She is the first-born daughter of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther
 King, Jr.  Yolanda's mission is to encourage personal growth and positive
 social change through her artistic endeavors, including acting, producing,
 speaking and teaching.  Her passion for peace and positive change prompted her
 to found Higher Ground Productions, an organization dedicated to teaching
 people to celebrate diversity and embrace unity.
 
     About the American Stroke Association
     The goal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American
 Heart Association, is to reduce disability and death from stroke through
 research, education and advocacy.  In its 2003-04 fiscal year, the association
 spent $162.4 million on stroke.
 
     Methodology
     Harris Interactive conducted the survey on behalf of the American Stroke
 Association by telephone within the United States between August 10-31, 2005,
 among a nationwide cross section of 500 African-American adults age 18 or
 older.  All respondents were selected using Random-Digit-Dial (RDD).  Figures
 for age, sex, race, education, number of adults and number of voice/telephone
 lines in the household were weighted where necessary to align them with their
 actual proportions in the population.
 
     What's a stroke?
     A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or gets clogged.
 The affected part of the brain doesn't get the blood it needs and, in minutes,
 begins to die.  If you have a stroke, you could die, suffer paralysis or have
 trouble talking or understanding speech.  Your vision could be affected.  You
 could also lose emotional control or become depressed.  Each stroke has
 different effects.
 
     What are the types of stroke?
     If we consider an isolated blood vessel, blood flow to the brain tissue
 can be hampered in two ways:
      *  the vessel becomes blocked within (ischemic stroke)
         *  Ischemic stroke accounts for about 88 percent of all cases.
         *  Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood
            vessel supplying blood to the brain.  The part of the brain beyond
            the blockage becomes deprived of blood.
      *  the vessel ruptures, causing blood to leak into the brain (hemorrhagic
         stroke)
         *  Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 12 percent of stroke cases.
         *  Hemorrhagic strokes result from a weakened vessel on or in the
            brain that ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain.  The
            blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue.  The
            part of the brain downstream from the rupture becomes deprived of
            blood
 
     What are transient ischemic attacks?
     Also called TIAs, transient ischemic attacks are "mini" or warning
 strokes.  In a TIA, there is a temporary decrease in blood flow to a part of
 the brain and the typical stroke warning signs develop.  However, the
 obstruction  occurs for a short time and tends to resolve itself through
 normal mechanisms.  Even though the symptoms disappear after a short time,
 TIAs are strong indicators of a possible major stroke.  A TIA is considered a
 medical emergency.
 
     General Stroke Statistics
      *  About 700,000 Americans will have a new or recurrent stroke this year
         -- that's someone every 45 seconds.
      *  Stroke is the nation's No. 3 killer and a leading cause of severe,
         long-term disability.
      *  Over 162,000 people will die from a stroke this year.
      *  14 percent of people who survive a first stroke or TIA (transient
         ischemic attack) will have another one within one year.
      *  The length of time to recover from a stroke depends on severity.
         50 to 70 percent of stroke survivors regain functional independence,
         but 15 to 30 percent are permanently disabled.  20 percent require
         institutionalized care at three months after onset.
 
 
     Stroke and African Americans
     While anyone can have a stroke, knowing about and managing risk factors
 reduces risk.  African Americans are among those least aware of stroke risk
 factors, despite having a high prevalence of high blood pressure, obesity and
 tobacco use.  In fact,
 
      *  Blacks have almost twice the risk of first-ever strokes compared to
         whites.
      *  Blacks have higher death rates for stroke compared to whites.
      *  The prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans in the
         United States is the highest in the world.
      *  Among non-Hispanic blacks age 20 and older, 62.9 percent of men and
         77.2 percent of women are overweight or obese.
      *  In 2001, 27.7 percent of black or African-Americans only, used any
         tobacco product.  Heavy cigarette smoking approximately doubles a
         person's risk for stroke when compared to light smokers.
      *  Black women have higher prevalence rates of high blood pressure,
         obesity, physical inactivity, and diabetes than white women.
 
     What can I do to help prevent a stroke and the debilitating affects from
 stroke?
      *  See your doctor to check if you're at risk.
      *  Take recommended steps to control your risk factors.
      *  Know the warning signs.
      *  If you think you might be having a stroke or TIA ("mini-stroke"), call
         9-1-1 immediately or the emergency medical services (EMS) number.
     You can reduce your chances of having a stroke.  It starts by you becoming
 aware of your risk factors.  You can't change or control some of them; some
 you can -- by making a few changes in your daily habits or taking medicine as
 prescribed.
 
     How can I reduce my risk for stroke?
      *  Control your blood pressure
      *  Stop smoking
      *  Maintain a healthy weight
      *  Get physical activity at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the
         week
      *  Keep diabetes under control
 
     What are the warning signs of stroke?
      *  Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one
         side of the body
      *  Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
      *  Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
      *  Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
      *  Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
 
     Can I reduce the effects of stroke while I am having a stroke?
     In many cases, yes.  There's a treatment available for stroke if
 administered within the first three hours of the start of a stroke.  Most
 strokes are ischemic (caused by a blood clot), so clot-busting drugs, if
 administered early, can reduce long-term disability from stroke.  Your chances
 of walking away from a stroke greatly increase if those around you know how to
 recognize stroke and immediately call 9-1-1.
 
     Can I fully recover from a stroke?
     Yes.  Stroke rehabilitation involves several different therapies, and the
 sooner that rehabilitation begins, the greater the chance for recovery and
 leading a productive life.
      *  Most stroke survivors are left with a disability, but some recover
         completely or have only mild impairments.
      *  Some survivors with severe disabilities can be taught to walk and care
         for themselves again.
 
     Resources from the American Stroke Association can help you or a loved one
 work with your doctors and reach out to other stroke survivors to become
 stronger.  To contact us, call 1-888-4-STROKE or visit the American Stroke
 Association online at StrokeAssociation.org.
 
 SOURCE  American Heart Association