Stroke-Prevention Progress Stalls in 3 out of 4 U.S. States
After more than four decades of improving stroke outcomes and decreasing stroke-related death rates, progress has stalled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reports that rates of stroke-related deaths are rising in Hispanics and in people living in the South.
Deaths due to stroke continued to decrease in 13 U.S. states, but the decline in stroke-related death rates slowed or reversed in 37 states and the District of Columbia between 2000-2015. Some of the affected states are outside of the “stroke belt” (Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, and Virginia), where rates of stroke and cardiovascular disease are higher than the national average.
The CDC report does not address the reasons for the decline in stroke prevention, but research points to an increase in known stroke risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. While African Americans continue to have the highest risk of stroke-related death among all races and ethnicities, stroke death rates in Hispanics increased by 6 percent each year from 2013 to 2015. This new report underscores the importance of public health efforts to reduce stroke death rates.