Mexican-Americans appear to face a higher risk of second strokes or death from a stroke.
A new study shows that Mexican-Americans were more than 50 percent more likely to have a second stroke within a year of their first stroke compared with whites.
Each year, approximately 700,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke, and about 200,000 of those are repeat strokes. Factors that increase the chance of having a stroke include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, and family history of stroke.
People who suffer from second strokes are more likely to die from a stroke. Therefore, researchers say this higher risk of recurrent stroke may also increase Mexican-Americans' risk of dying from a stroke.
Measuring Stroke Risk
Mexican-Americans are the fastest growing segment of the population. Previous studies have shown that they face a higher risk of stroke, but until now their risk of second stroke has not been examined.
In the study, published in the Annals of Neurology, researchers followed more than 1,300 people who had suffered their first stroke. More than half of the stroke victims (53 percent) were Mexican-American.
Overall, 126 second strokes were reported during the study.
But researchers found Mexican-Americans were 57 percent more likely to have a second stroke compared with non-Hispanic whites. This held true even after adjusting for other stroke risk factors, including the severity of the first stroke.
Second strokes were also linked to a two-to-three times higher risk of death due to any cause, but this risk did not appear to vary by ethnicity.
Researcher Lynda Lisabeth, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and colleagues say the results show that more study is needed to explain the higher risk of second stroke found among Mexican-Americans. Potential contributors may be ethnic differences in physician care, patient compliance, drug effectiveness, or genetic risk factors.
SOURCES: Lisabeth, L. Annals of Neurology, September 2006; vol 60. News release Wiley Interscience.
By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed by Michael Smith