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Stroke rates dropped over decade, Texas study finds

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TUESDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke rates in older white and Mexican Americans declined over the past decade but remain higher in Mexican Americans, researchers have found.

The study looked at the incidence of ischemic stroke -- which is the most common type of stroke and is caused by a clot in the blood vessels of the brain -- among people aged 45 and older who lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, between 2000 and 2010.

During that time, more than 4,600 people in the study group experienced an ischemic stroke (2,604 Mexican-Americans and 2,042 whites). There was a 36 percent decline in the overall ischemic stroke rate in both groups during the study period, but it was limited to people 60 and older.

The researchers also found that Mexican-Americans aged 45 to 74 were still 34 percent more likely than whites to suffer an ischemic stroke, according to the study published Aug. 13 in the journal Annals of Neurology.

"The dramatic decline in stroke rates during the last decade is encouraging," lead author Dr. Lewis Morgenstern, of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, said in a journal news release. "However, the ongoing disparity among younger patients emphasizes the need for further interventions to prevent stroke, particularly among young Mexican-Americans."

Morgenstern noted that Mexican-Americans are one of the largest and fastest growing minority groups in the United States.

"In minority groups, stroke occurs at much younger ages, often resulting in greater disability and significantly higher costs," Morgenstern said.

The cost of stroke in the first half of this century in the United States could be more than $1.5 trillion, according to experts.

Based on U.S. Census estimates, Hispanics/Latinos currently account for 17 percent of the U.S. population and that is projected to increase to more than 30 percent by 2050.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about ischemic stroke.

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