More than one in eight people in the United States are of Hispanic origin, and Mexican Americans are the largest Hispanic sub-group. Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke remains a very treatable and preventable condition.
Researchers from the University of Michigan Stroke Program, Ann Arbor, conducted a population-based study in Nueces County, Texas, an urban county with 313,645 residents. The vast majority (95 percent) of the county's residents live in Corpus Christi. They selected Nueces County for its high concentration of Mexican Americans (56 percent), high quality of medical care, and because it is more than 150 miles from the nearest major city where a stroke victim might otherwise be treated for a cerebrovascular event.
From January 2000 through December 2002, all stroke cases in subjects age 45 and older were identified from in-hospital and out-of-hospital sources. Cases were validated by board certified neurologists. Cerebrovascular disease incidence and risk ratio estimates comparing stroke in Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites were calculated.
During the study period, 2,350 cerebrovascular events occurred, 54 percent of which were in Mexican Americans. The crude annual total cerebrovascular event rate was 64 per 10,000 in Mexican Americans and 50 per 10,000 in non Hispanic whites.