The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health offers some staggering statistics for African Americans and their stroke risks.
In general, African Americans are 50% more likely to have a stroke while Black men, in particular, are 70% more likely to die.
The root causes of these increased risks can be complicated but they include diet and other lifestyle factors. If you want to decrease your chances of a stroke, it’s important to work on the areas that are within your control.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control
Having high blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes. It does this by weakening arteries while also thickening arterial walls.
Weakened arteries can burst easily and the build-up of cholesterol on thickened walls can break off to block the brain’s blood supply. The ideal blood pressure is 120/80 so regular readings above that figure are a sign to talk to your doctor.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Statistics show that persons who are overweight triple their risk of developing heart disease.
To cut your risk, it’s important to get your weight under control. That includes adjusting your diet and getting some exercise. If weight loss is difficult for you, a dietician or other health professional might be able to help.
Stop Drinking Alcohol
Too much alcohol has been known to increase blood pressure as well as the triglycerides in your blood. Both of these can contribute to the risk of a stroke. Additionally, binge drinking regularly will affect your heartbeat. An irregular heartbeat causes blood to pool and often clot. It should never be ignored.