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Blacks in the South have greater risk of dying from stroke

fferences diminished and no racial differences were found after age 85.

The average stroke death rate for white men age 55 - 64, living in the South was .49 per 1,000, compared to .38 per 1,000 for white men living elsewhere representing a 29 percent higher death rate for white men living in the South than white men not living in the South, Howard said.

Researchers found that the stroke death rate for black men age 55-64 living in the South was 1.59 per 1,000 while the rate was 1.05 for black men not living in the South. "So the stroke risk for African Americans living in the South is 51 percent higher, nearly twice as big as the 29 percent increase for whites living in the South," he said.

The numbers range considerably from state to state. For example, in New York, the risk of death from stroke among whites age 55-64 was 0.32 per 1,000 versus 0.68 per 1,000 for blacks in the same group. So in New York, blacks were 2.1 times more likely to die from stroke than whites. However, in South Carolina, the death rate from stroke for whites ages 55 - 64 is 0.50 per 1,000 versus 1.95 per 1,000 for same-aged African Americans. Thus, in South Carolina, African Americans are 3.8 times more likely to die from stroke than whites.

"These are whopping differences. The increase in risk of stroke for African Americans living in South Carolina is nearly twice as large as the increase for African Americans living in New York," Howard said.

The reasons for these racial differences between regions in the risk of dying from a stroke are not clear. However, Howard and colleagues have formed the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study group, which has a six-year government grant from the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke to examine what is causing these racial, age and geographic differences in stroke mortality. In the third year of the study, REGARDS will develop a study group of 30,000 people to
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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
American Heart Association
2-Feb-2005


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