Stroke Deaths Down in African-American Children With Sickle Cell

Stroke Deaths Down in African-American Children With Sickle Cell

Mortality gap between Black and white children narrowed by two-thirds.

Published February 28, 2012

A recent study on strokes has some offered up some promising news.


Stroke deaths among African-American children have gone down in past years. In fact, the disparities between Black and white deaths were narrowed by two-thirds.


What caused the decrease? It's believed that performing ultrasonographic screening and blood transfusions on African-American children with sickle cell anemia have reduced the risks of children dying from strokes by 90 percent. According to Medscape, sickle cell disease, which overwhelmingly impacts African-American children, is the main cause of strokes among Black youth.


Medscape reported that "when investigators compared the rate of ischemic stroke deaths between white and black children between the years 1999 and 2007, as compared with the rate during the period from 1988 to 1998, they found that the increased risk of dying among the African American children had been reduced by more than half."


Sickle cell anemia is not the only cause of ischemic strokes — which occur when an artery to the brain is blocked — among younger people. Just last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that found that while strokes in older people were slowly decreasing, incidents of ischemic strokes were sharply up for younger men and women, and even for children. While they didn't have concrete reasons to explain why this increase was happening, they hypothesized that higher rates of obesity, poor eating and lack of exercise might play a factor.


Ischemic strokes make up 87 percent of all stroke cases here in the U.S. Some common warning signs are:

—Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, often on only one side of the body

—Sudden confusion and trouble speaking or understanding others

—Sudden difficulty seeing

—Sudden trouble walking, feelings of dizziness and loss of balance or coordination

—Sudden severe headache of unknown cause


*If you are having any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately*


To learn more about strokes, prevention and warning signs, go here.



BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world.

(Photo: Brian Snyder / Reuters)

Written by Kellee Terrell


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