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Racial Disparities in Stroke Awareness: African Americans and Caucasians

Published in JHHSA, Vol. 33 No. 4

Considerable evidence supports the existence of racial disparities in incidence, mortality, and morbidity related to stroke. Awareness of risk factors could substantially lower the probability of stroke incidence. Awareness of stroke warning signs and treatment options could significantly alter the outcome of a stroke if patients immediately seek emergency help. This article examines the disparities in awareness of stroke risk factors, stroke signs, and action to be taken when stroke occurs. Survey results from 422 Caucasian Americans and 368 African Americans in West Virginia were analyzed. Significant disparities in recognition of cholesterol, smoking, prior stroke, and race as stroke risk factors were observed. The study also found a significant and substantial difference in awareness of stroke signs. There was also a significant difference in the way African Americans and Caucasians would respond to a stroke. The study found no evidence of disparities in recognition of stroke risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, alcoholism, and family history.

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