Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stroke Belt USA - are you at risk?

Southern United States MapImage via Wikipedia

Strokes run rampant in southern USA more than anywhere else in the country.  Statistics show that people have a 15% higher stroke risk and  the mortality is 30% - 40% higher.  That's some pretty frightening information.  But why?  What is going on in that part of the country that puts southerners at such high risk for cardiovascular disease?

The risks: the lifestyle

What states constitute  the stroke belt?  This includes southern states such as: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana.  Starting to see a pattern?  These states are known one way or other for the rich, high seasoned, artery clogging southern delicacies such as fried chicken, fried fish, fried corn, fried okra, cajun cooking, sweet potatoe pie and on and on.  Coupled with other  risk factors such as sedentary lifestyle and  smoking, you have a ticking time bomb of chronic ailments such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease just waiting to occur.

Stop the cycle

Anoher  factor in the higher than normal risk of stroke is the lack of access to medical professionals  This can be explained by some residents of these states living in remote areas which may contribute to decreased medical visits and thus lower screenings for these diseases.  It is encouraged that residents participate in  initatives sponsored by the State and local agencies targetted at local participation in screenings.

Education is another factor.  Many people are not aware of the fact that lifestyle choices are modifiable factors as far as the onset of these troublesome chronic disease. Even genetic predisposition to disease can be changed by making healthier choices like cutting down on the amount of fats consumed, exercise and  stopping smoking can mean quality of life in the years to come.

References:

"The Stroke Belt:why is stroke risk higher in the southeast?" http://www.everydayhealth.com/
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