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CDC: Strokes More Deadly for Blacks

February 11, 2000

ATLANTA (AP) _ Blacks ages 35 to 54 are four times more likely to die of a stroke than their white counterparts, according to research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Middle-aged Hispanics, Asians, American Indians and Alaska natives also are at greater risk, the CDC reported Thursday. American Indians and Alaska natives in that age group are nearly twice as likely as whites to die of a stroke.

The racial gap narrowed sharply at older ages, suggesting that younger minorities are not getting the message about the risk factors, said Carma Ayala, a CDC epidemiologist.

``Many people believe stroke is an older person’s disease,″ she said.

The CDC also cited lack of access to health care and mistrust of the medical system as reasons for the racial gap.

Obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, diabetes, poor nutrition and high blood pressure are the major risk factors for stroke.

The CDC said stroke was the third leading cause of death in 1997, killing 157,791 Americans. Overall, U.S. stroke deaths in the declined 70 percent from 1950 to 1996.

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