Friday, May 24, 2019

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American Indians have higher rates of stroke

The Strong Heart Stroke Study was conducted with 4,549 American Indians between the ages of 45-74 years of age from Arizona, Oklahoma and South Dakota. 

The study found that the American Indian population has a higher rate of stroke than white or black populations in the United States. 

The number of American Indians who die as a result of having their first stroke is also higher than that of white or black populations.

The Strong Heart Stroke Study results are very important because health care providers can focus more prevention and treatment efforts on addressing the risk factors for stroke which in turn saves money, but more importantly, lives. 

The Strong Heart Stroke Study identified the following risk factors for stroke in the American Indian Population:  high blood pressure, high blood sugar, elevated hemoglobin A1c, high cholesterol levels, and smoking. 

The findings recommend that blood pressure and glucose control along with not smoking are important for preventing strokes for American Indians.   

Missouri Breaks Industries Research, Inc. collected the data. Study from research volunteers from the Cheyenne River and Oglala Tribes. The data collected was combined with data from Oklahoma and Arizona Tribes to determine the overall risk factors and rates of stroke in the American Indian population.

The stroke study was needed because there was very little information about stroke rates and risk factors for American Indians, unlike other populations where this is known. 

Because the study looked at information from a large number of American Indians from different geographic regions, the results were able to be generalized to the entire American Indian population. 

This has positively impacted American Indian health through treatment for those at risk of stroke and care for stroke patients.

Do you know the stroke warning signs and symptoms?

F.A.S.T is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. 

F = Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?  Ask the person to smile.  Is their smile uneven? 

A = Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb?  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred?   Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? 

T =  Time to Call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately.  Check the time to know when the first symptoms started.

Other stroke signs and symptoms to be aware of include:  sudden numbness or weakness of the leg; sudden confusion or trouble understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden severe headache with no known cause; and sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination. 

If you or a loved one have one of these warning signs or a combination of them take charge immediately and call 9-1-1.

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