Thursday, June 07, 2012

Southern states need stroke prevention priority

Being born a Southerner (now living in the Midwest), it's disheartening to hear about how strokes are more common in Southern states. To quote the article:
States with the highest rates of stroke include South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Nevada.
Those with the lowest rates include New York, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the New England states.
Older people, American Indians/Alaska Natives, blacks and people with lower levels of education had more strokes than younger people, whites and those with higher levels of education, the researchers found.
The disparities in stroke, a leading cause of long-term disability, are largely due to lifestyle factors including obesity, high blood pressure and smoking, Fang said.
"Southern states have higher rates of obesity, smoking and hypertension, which are all risk factors for stroke," she said.
What is especially said is that many of the risk factors mentioned in the excerpt are preventable or at least (in the case of hypertension) addressable. Stroke prevention has a long way to go in Southern United States. It's past time to start!

Age-adjusted prevalence of stroke among noninstitutionalized adults (18 or older), by state.
(Image from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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