Stroke Age Disparity Growing Among Races

Medpage Today: May 1, 2014


PHILADELPHIA — Stroke in black and Hispanic Americans occurs at a younger age than in whites — and the disparity is growing, a researcher said here.

Over a 24-year period, the average age of stroke onset for whites was unchanged at 75, according to Cynthia Costa, MD, of the University of Kansas Medical Center.

The onset age was always lower for blacks and Hispanics, but in has been falling in recent years, Costa reported at the annual meeting here of the American Academy of Neurology.

“It started out younger and has continued to decline,” Costa told MedPage Today after her oral presentation.

But she said the reasons for the change remain a matter of speculation. “We’re assuming it’s poorer health in those communities,” she said, but exactly what factors are involved is a question for further research.

Nonetheless, the findings reflect a “huge public health problem [that] is staring us in the face,” commented Cheryl Bushnell, MD, of Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C., who was not part of the study but who moderated a session at which it was presented. Read More