Mexican-Americans Fare Worse After Stroke, Study Finds

THURSDAY, March 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Mexican-Americans have more trouble recovering from a stroke than white patients do, a new study finds.

The researchers noted that Mexican-Americans are more likely to suffer a stroke than whites, but less likely to die from one. However, these new findings suggest that the lower risk of death means an increased risk of disability.

The study looked at 513 stroke survivors in Texas. The average age was 65 among the 64 percent of patients who were Mexican-American, compared with an average age of 72 for white patients.

Compared with whites, Mexican-Americans had worse physical and mental outcomes 90 days after stroke. This included areas such as language, thinking abilities, and being able to do normal daily activities such as walking, bathing, eating, dressing and using the toilet.

Nearly one-third of Mexican-Americans had post-stroke dementia, according to the study in the March 13 issue of the journal Stroke.

"What we found most notable was the difference in functional outcome," study author Lynda Lisabeth, interim chair and associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, said in a journal news release. "Mexican-Americans did worse on all the measures of daily living activities compared to non-Hispanic whites."

Being unable to do normal daily activities is a strong predictor of having to be admitted to a nursing home and the need for informal care, the researchers noted.

"This study provides the first piece of information on the prognosis of Mexican-American stroke survivors. The clinical and public health information we discovered is important for future research in stroke prevention and rehabilitation in stroke survivors," Lisabeth said.

"We don't yet have a complete picture of recovery for Mexican-Americans, and what potential intervention strategies can improve their recovery," she added in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about stroke.

SOURCE: Stroke, news release, March 13, 2014

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