American Indians Have Higher Stroke Rate

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

American Indians have a higher rate of stroke than other groups, which in large part can be attributed to a high prevalence of diabetes, according to a study to be published next week in the journal Circulation, Tulsa World reports. For the study, lead researcher Ying Zhang of the Oklahoma University College of Public Health and 13 other researchers from across the nation analyzed data from 1989 to 2004 on 4,549 middle-age and older American Indians. According to Tulsa World, the report is the first to detail stroke prevalence and risk factors for American Indians.


Study subjects came from 13 American Indian tribes in Arizona, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Of the study subjects, 42 had a history of stroke. By the end of the study period, 306 additional participants had had a stroke for the first time. According to the study, "The rate of first stroke was unusually high," adding, "Stroke incidence exceeded that recorded in community-based studies of white and, notably, black U.S. populations, who have an especially high stroke rate." American Indians' mortality rate after the stroke was 32%, which is nearly 1.5 times more than rates in blacks or whites, according to the study.

The study also found that among American Indians: women are more likely to die after their first stroke than men; men had a higher stroke incidence than women; stroke was more prevalent among those ages 65 and older; and gender was not a significant risk factor, as it is among blacks and whites. "Our findings confirm the strong associations between hypertension, diabetes and cigarette smoking and risk of stroke," the study said (Archer, Tulsa World, 9/27).

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