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Prevalence of Strokes on the Decline in the U.S., Study Shows

older-black-coupleThe number of Americans having strokes and the number dying following strokes decreased over the past 20 years, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

Researchers analyzed data from a long-term study of 15,792 people in four areas of the United States. The participants were between 45 and 64 years old when they entered the study from 1987 to 1989.

Researchers focused on 14,357 people who had not had a stroke when they entered the study. But 7 percent, or 1,051 participants, had a stroke by 2011 and 58 percent of those people died during the study period.

The article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Over a given 10-year period, the stroke rate decreased by about one stroke per 1,000 people per year. Also, the rate of deaths per 100 strokes dropped by eight.

The decrease occurred with whites and Blacks, which is very important because Blacks are at an elevated risk of stroke.

“I think it’s very good that we’re seeing decreases among African-Americans as well because there is a concern of health disparities,” says senior study author Dr. Josef Coresh to Fox News.

“We can congratulate ourselves that we are doing well, but stroke is still the No. 4 cause of death in the United States,” he continues.

Education and control of risk factors, such as hypertension, smoking and diabetes, seem to be making an impact. However, more work needs to be done. There are more than 800,000 strokes per year in the United States, and African-Americans still have twice the mortality rate from strokes compared to whites.

“Greater improvements in brain health, especially with controllable risk factors such as diet, exercise, smoking and obesity, among younger segments of the population are required to reduce the risk of stroke and enhance the chance of successful cognitive aging for all adults,” the authors say in the study.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, and visit her website at

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