The Grapevine

Rates of Second Strokes Dropping Among Mexican Americans

For the first time, researchers have found an improvement in ethnic stroke disparities, leading to a significant drop in recurring strokes among Mexican Americans. A recurrent stroke occurs sometime after the first one. A long-term study published this month in the journal Stroke identified the improvements in the disparity of stroke recurrence between Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites.

The study included 3,571 adult participants in Nueces County, Texas, who self-identified as either Mexican American or non-Hispanic white. The study took place between 2000 and 2013.  The participants, equally divided between men and women, were at least 45 years old at the start of the study; 56% identified as Mexican American. 

The researchers documented who among the study group had recurrent strokes during 1-year and 2-year follow-up periods. In the 1-year follow-up period, recurrent strokes were observed in 206 participants while 683 participants died before a second stroke. In the 2-year follow-up period, there were 293 recurrent strokes, while 883 people died without any reported recurrent strokes.

After analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that the rate of recurrent strokes within one year among Mexican Americans dropped to 3.42% at the end of the study (2013) from the 9.26% rate at the beginning (2000). The rate of 1-year stroke recurrence also dropped from 5.67% in 2013 to 3.59% in 2000 among non-Hispanic whites. Comparing the rates between the two groups, the Mexican-American participants showed significant progress over the non-Hispanic whites.

“These results suggest that stroke recurrence continues to decline in both populations, but faster in Mexican Americans, perhaps because their rates were so high to begin with,” lead study author Lewis Morgenstern, MD, stated in the newly published research. Morgenstern, who is also a professor at the University of Michigan’s Medical School and School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pointed out that the long-term study is the first to determine “an improvement in any major marker of ethnic stroke disparities.”

The findings of this study are important since Hispanic Americans are considered the largest U.S. minority population and 63% of this group are Mexican Americans. At present, 9.2% of Hispanic Americans in the U.S. are older than 65. The percentage is expected to climb to 15.8% after two decades. Knowing the recurrence of stroke among Mexican Americans is crucial, so stroke prevention strategies can be implemented to help mitigate fatal strokes among the elderly.

Stroke Nearly 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, a condition which blocks blood flow to the brain. Daniel Garcia/Unsplash

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