Stroke: Ischemic stroke rates drop in whites, rise in blacks

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Researchers at the University of Cincinnati showed that while incidences of ischemic stroke in whites in the greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas dropped, they increased for blacks, according to a long-term study published May 20 in Stroke.

Dawn Kleindorfer, MD, and colleagues found that age-adjusted rate of ischemic stroke changed significantly between 1999 and 2005.

Researchers utilized data from the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Study, which included data of 1.3 million people in a five-country area.

According to the authors, results showed that in 1999 there were 189 ischemic strokes per 100,000 while this rate in 2005 was 167 per 100,000—an 11.6 percent drop.

As far as demographic disparities, between 1999 and 2005 there was a 14.4 percent reduction in the ischemic stroke rate in whites, 180 to 154 per 100,000, they wrote. In comparison, these rates increased for blacks with a 4.6 percent rise, 263 to 275 per 100,000.

"It's encouraging that, for the first time ever in our study area, there is a drop in the most common type of stroke," said Kleindorfer. "However, it's very disappointing that the racial disparity seems to be getting worse."

From results of a phone survey conducted in the five areas, researchers found that blacks were more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes; however, most were receiving treatment for these chronic conditions.

According to the researchers, these aforementioned risk factors could be the cause of the disparities between blacks and whites.

“When you look at national maps on mortality, you see many more stroke deaths in blacks," said Kleindorfer.

The researchers are continuing to collect 2010 data to add on to their epidemiology stroke project.