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Cardiovascular Health Myth: African Americans Are No More Likely to Have a Stroke Than Their Caucasian Counterparts

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Stroke related image Photo: Getty Images

African Americans are 50 percent more likely to have a stroke than their white counterparts, according to a 2009 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study. Risk factors for stroke include: smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Making lifestyle changes such as not smoking, or drinking excessively, eating a diet high in fiber and low in sodium, and getting enough exercise can improve overall health. It’s also important to get checked by a doctor regularly to assess your risk and determine if medication could be right for you.

A stroke (or brain attack as some may have heard it called) occurs when an artery of the brain becomes blocked or ruptures. Depending on where in the brain the event occurs, it could cause the brain to not receive oxygen causing brain damage, disability, and sometimes death.

Know the warning signals of stroke, and call for emergency help when symptoms are present:
- 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

Do you have a question about Heart Attacks, Stroke and Cardiovascular Health? Check out EmpowHER’s pages. Sign-up, post a question, share your story, connect with other women in our groups and community, and feel EmpowHERed!

Black History Month Can Focus on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans
Women’s Heart Foundation: What is a Stroke?
American Heart Association: Stroke Warning Signs

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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