African-Americans have an unexplained increased incidence and mortality from stroke compared with whites, and little is known about stroke in Hispanics. To investigate cross-sectional differences in sociodemographic and stroke risk factors, we prospectively evaluated 430 patients hospitalized for acute ischemic stroke (black 35%, Hispanic 46%, white 19%) over the age of 39 from Northern Manhattan. Blacks and Hispanics were younger than whites (mean ages, blacks 70, Hispanics 67, whites 80; p < 0.001) and were more likely to have less than 12 years of education than whites. Hypertension was more prevalent in blacks and Hispanics with stroke than whites (blacks 76%, Hispanics 79%, whites 63%; p < 0.05) and was often untreated in blacks. Left ventricular hypertrophy by ECG was more frequent in blacks (blacks 20%, whites 9%; p = 0.02). History of cardiac disease (atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction, angina, and congestive heart failure) was less prevalent in both blacks and Hispanics. Black women were significantly more obese than white women (mean Quetelet Index percent, blacks 3.9%, whites 3.6%; p < 0.05). Heavy alcohol use was more often reported by blacks and Hispanics; cigarette smoking was increased only in blacks. Moreover, blacks were less likely to have visited a physician 1 year after their stroke (blacks 85%, whites 98%; p < 0.05), and Hispanics less often lived alone compared with whites. These cross-sectional differences suggest that the burden of stroke risk factors is increased in both blacks and Hispanics with stroke. Further studies controlling for stroke risk factors are needed to establish whether race-ethnicity is an independent determinant of stroke risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology