Reducing your risk of stroke: information for black African and black Caribbean people.
Stroke can happen to anyone at any time, but if you are black and of African or Caribbean origin you may have a higher risk of stroke than other people in the UK.
A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off. It can be caused by a blockage in one of the blood vessels leading to the brain or by a bleed in the brain.
Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain. Without blood your brain cells can be damaged or die.
Strokes affect people in different ways depending on the part of the brain that is affected, how widespread the damage is and how healthy you were before the stroke. A stroke can affect the way your body functions as well as your thought processes and how you feel and communicate.
Information for black African and black Caribbean people
Why am I more likely to have a stroke if I am black?
Studies show that if you are black and of African or Caribbean origin you are twice as likely to have a stroke, and at a younger age, than white people. The reasons for this are complex and not completely understood.
What is known is that if you are black and of African or Caribbean origin you are more likely to develop high blood pressure or diabetes or have sickle cell disease, which are all risk factors for stroke.
Some of the lifestyle factors that increase your risk of developing some of these medical conditions, and therefore of having a stroke, are also known to affect some African and Caribbean people more than the rest of the UK population. These include carrying weight around your waist and smoking.
What factors will increase my risk of stroke?
High blood pressure is the most important risk factor, contributing to around 53% of all strokes. In the UK high blood pressure is more common among black Caribbean people than any other ethnic group.
Fro more information see https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/reducing_your_risk_black_african_and_black_caribbean_people.pdf