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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 May 20;54(19):477-81.

Disparities in deaths from stroke among persons aged <75 years--United States, 2002.


Despite declines in deaths from stroke, stroke remained the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2002, and age-adjusted death rates for stroke remained higher among blacks than whites. In 1997, excess deaths from stroke occurred among persons aged <65 years in most racial/ethnic minority groups, compared with whites. A younger age distribution among Hispanics and other racial/ethnic groups compared with whites might partly explain the disproportionate burden in deaths at younger ages. To examine disparities in stroke mortality among persons aged <75 years, CDC assessed several characteristics of mortality at younger ages by using death certificate data for 2002. This report summarizes the results of that assessment. Overall, 11.9% of all stroke deaths in 2002 occurred among persons aged <65 years; the proportion of stroke decedents who were aged <65 years was higher among blacks, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, compared with whites. In addition, the mean ages of stroke decedents were statistically significantly lower in these racial groups than among whites. Blacks had more than twice the age-specific death rates from stroke than whites aged <75 years. Approximately 3,400 excess stroke deaths would not have occurred among blacks in 2002 if blacks had had the same death rates for stroke as whites aged <65 years. Moreover, age-adjusted estimates of years of potential life lost (YPLL) before age 75 years from stroke were more than twice as high for blacks than for all other racial groups. Reducing premature death from stroke in these groups will require early prevention, detection, treatment, and control of risk factors for stroke in young and middle-aged adults.

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