HomeAsian AmericansStudy: Asian Americans Are at Higher Risk for Stroke

Study: Asian Americans Are at Higher Risk for Stroke

HealthViews from the Edge

Asians Americans are at higher risk for stroke and hypertension compared to Whites, according to a study examining U.S. death records from 2003–2010.

Although heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, certain races and ethnicities face higher cardiovascular risk than others. Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, yet little is known about heart risks in distinct subgroups of the Asian American population.


The study “highlights the need for more focused research, improved stroke prevention and possibly different treatment strategies for Asian Americans,” said study author Dr. Sarah Song, an assistant professor of cerebrovascular disease at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.


“Among Asian Americans, the various minority populations differ in so many ways,” she noted. “Vietnamese people are not the same as Korean, who are not the same as Japanese or South Asian groups. Aside from differences in language, differences in stroke risk factors, diet and lifestyle, and other cultural factors, make compiling all Asian American groups into one single group problematic.”


Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a recent study analyzed death records for the six largest Asian American subgroups: Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. Together, these subgroups make up 84% of the Asians in the United States.

After comparing U.S. death rates from 2003–2010, researchers found that stroke and high blood pressure was more common among every Asian American subgroup compared to non-Hispanic Whites. Compared to Whites, Asian Indians and Filipino men also had greater mortality from coronary artery disease—a condition that occurs when the heart’s arteries narrow, often due to the plaque build-up on the arterial walls.


Based on these findings, the authors highlight the need to direct specific treatment and prevention efforts to reduce health disparities in the Asian American population. If Asian Americans face greater risk of hypertension and stroke, it’s important to address these risk factors to prevent complications and improve outcomes.


With a current population of more than 18 million that is projected to reach 34 million by 2050, addressing cardiovascular risk factors in this rapidly growing population will have a meaningful impact on improving the heart health of the U.S. population.


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