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AHA Report Finds Disparities in Stroke Treatment for Black and Hispanic Patients

A new report from the American Heart Association (AHA) has found that Black and Hispanic people in the United States are less likely to get treatment for stroke complications than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.[0] This is despite major advances in stroke care and the fact that stroke continues to be a significant problem.[1]

According to Dixon Yang, M.D., lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, an unhealthy diet negatively impacts blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of stroke.[2] This is independent of one’s own demographics or socio-economic status, and living in a neighborhood with an abundance of poor food choices may be an important factor to consider for many people.[3]

Results from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study indicate that glycolic acid use was associated with hypertension, an increased risk of ischemic stroke, lower education level, and lack of exercise among Black adults. Researchers suggest that these findings could help enhance the ability to identify and manage cardiovascular risk in Black patients.

Researchers have identified a lifestyle-related metabolite biomarker called gluconic acid that is associated with high blood pressure, increased risk of ischemic stroke, eating a Southern diet, lower level of education and lack of exercise, among Black adults. These so-called “food swamps” typically contain an abundance of fast-food chains and convenience stores, essentially “swamping” neighborhoods with unhealthy eating options.[4]

New research indicates that the privilege of living in certain neighborhoods may be the deciding factor in determining whether or not a person's genetic score puts them at higher risk of stroke. This further highlights the disparities that exist between wealth and health. When both genetics and neighborhoods were examined together, it was determined that the connection between the polygenic risk score and stroke risk was substantial in the least disadvantaged areas. A person's stroke risk may be increased by approximately 10% when their genetic risk score is higher.[3]

In a study by Simmonds et al., electronic medical records from 65 large healthcare organizations in the US were examined to form a cohort of non-Hispanic White (NHW), Black, and Hispanic patients who had been hospitalized due to acute stroke from August 2002 to July 2022.[5]

0. “Blacks, Hispanics less likely to get stroke treatment: report Negros e hispanos tienen menos probabilidades de recibir …” Manhattan Times, 3 Feb. 2023,

1. “Living near a ‘food swamp’ could increase your risk of deadly illness…” The Sun, 2 Feb. 2023,

2. “Do You Live in a ‘Food Swamp'? It Could Be Raising Your Heart Risk”, 2 Feb. 2023,

3. “Living Near This Type of Restaurant May Boost Stroke Risk” Money Talks News, 2 Feb. 2023,

4. “Living near a ‘food swamp' could raise stroke risk in adults 50 and older: research” The Hill, 2 Feb. 2023,

5. “Black and Hispanic Americans Less Likely to Receive Treatment for Post-Stroke Complications, Large Analysis Finds” Patient Care Online, 2 Feb. 2023,

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