Stroke in the African American community
In South Carolina, African Americans are 43% more likely to die from stroke than Caucasians. Sarina Brown, FNP, explained the reason behind this alarming statistic.
“Increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases are due to greater than average rates of obesity, cigarette smoking and high blood pressure. All of these risk factors can tie back to lifestyle choices such as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. We often see these with certain communities, especially here in the South where diets are high in sodium and fat,” said Brown.
How can you reduce your stroke risk?
“In order to overcome an increased risk for stroke you have to start by knowing the risk factors and working to improve them,” said Brown. The risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Unhealthy diets
- Lack of physical activity
Lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your stroke risk include:
- Regular visits to your primary care provider
- Regular cholesterol and blood pressure checks
- Healthy diet
- Less salt
- Moderate alcohol consumption
- Smoke and drug free
It is important to be aware of unhealthy traditions that can play a role in your overall health. Southern states are, unfortunately, associated with fatty cooking and slower lifestyles. “You have the power to modify some stroke risk factors by making dietary and behavioral changes to decrease your risks,” said Brown.
Remember, every second counts when it comes to stroke. The BE FAST acronym can help you remember and identify stroke symptoms.
- B- Bad balance/dizzy
- E- Eyes have trouble seeing
- F- Face Drooping
- A-Arm and leg weakness
- S- Slurred or strange speech
- T- Time to call 911
If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone else, call 911 immediately.
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