Recent research published in the journal Stroke shows that stroke hospitalizations among middle aged African Americans in South Carolina are increasing, which may highlight the need for intervention among younger, high-risk groups. Researchers analyzed records for 84,179 stroke patients discharged from hospitals in South Carolina in 2001-2010 and found that stroke hospitalizations among blacks younger than 65 years increased by more than 17% while stroke hospitalizations among whites younger than 65 years remained the same.

In addition, the results of the study indicate that stroke hospitalizations decreased in blacks and whites 65 years and older, and the 30-day death rate from stroke steadily decreased among all age and racial groups. Also, slightly more than half of black patients hospitalized were younger than age 65 years as compared to 30% of whites. Of $2.77 billion in hospital charges, $453.2 million (16.4%) were associated with racial disparity.

Wayne Feng, MD, MS, lead author of the study, says, “Excess strokes among blacks as well as the lingering racial disparity in the younger groups represent a serious public health issue. This issue is not limited to the stroke belt as similar data has also been noted elsewhere.”

Feng adds, “Our results show the importance of staying healthy, exercising and eating well, and starting these healthy habits while you are still young. Combined with annual physician checkups to identify and treat diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, at an early stage, these habits can help you prevent stroke down the road.”

Source: American Heart Association