Association Works To Raise Stroke Awareness During Black History Month

STATE — African Americans are twice as likely to have a first stroke compared to Caucasians, and cardiovascular disease, including stroke, is the leading cause of death for African-American men and women, killing nearly 100,000 annually in the United States.

During Black History Month and American Heart Month in February, the American Stroke Association, which is a division of the American Heart Association, is working to provide to educate African-Americans on various ways they may reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease.


Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain and is the No. 3 cause of death of all citizens in the U.S. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.

African-Americans have a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other cardiovascular complications, which could lead to a higher risk of stroke.  The American Stroke Association offers various resources and initiatives that are working to combat those statistics.

Power To End Stroke is the ASA’s education and awareness campaign that embraces and celebrates the culture, energy, creativity and lifestyle of African Americans. In 2010 a new Power To End Stroke initiative – Take 2 To Save 2 – was launched. Take 2 To Save 2 calls for people to take two minutes to save two loved ones by texting “Take 2” to “64244.” The text sends a personalized health message to recipients that could help save their lives.  Also, participants can get viral messages to send via a phone call, e-mail, Facebook, or other formats.

In addition to participating in Take 2 To Save 2, people are encouraged to talk to their doctors to determine if they have health risks and to follow the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 to prevent a stroke. The seven steps — found at — are: Get active, eat better, lose weight, stop smoking, control cholesterol, manage blood pressure and reduce blood sugar.

Only 31 percent of African Americans know the warning signs of stroke and knowing the signs of stroke is important as early intervention is most critical in effective stroke care.  Call 911 immediately at first sign of any of the following signs of stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination;
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

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