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African Americans & Stroke Risk

The National Stroke Association External Icon reports that African Americans are twice as likely to die from stroke as Caucasians. The rate of first strokes in African Americans is almost double that of Caucasians. The statistics are staggering-African Americans are affected by stroke more often than any other group.


Not all of the reasons are clear why African Americans have an increased risk of stroke. Some factors include a higher rate of:

  • High blood pressure
    High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke, and 1 in 3 African Americans suffer from high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes
    People with diabetes have a higher stroke risk.
  • Sickle cell anemia
    If sickle-shaped cells block a blood vessel to the brain, a stroke can result.

African Americans also have a higher incidence than Caucasians of obesity and smoking, two other factors that can increase their risk for stroke.

If you have one or more of these risk factors, it's even more important that you learn about the lifestyle and medical changes you can make to prevent a stroke.