When stroke treatment expert Atif Zafar, M.D., joined The University of New Mexico Department of Neurology faculty a few years ago, he decided to study the state’s unique patient population, so he started building a comprehensive stroke database.
“As we analyzed the data, the more we found that the risk factor profile, which includes high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, was getting worse through time,” Zafar says.
It was particularly worrying, he says, that “the prevalence of these risk factors in Native Americans was going up.”
Zafar and colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic presented a report on their findings at last week’s annual meeting of the American Stroke Association. The research, which tries to gauge the extent of the problem by looking at health data from nearly 5,000 male Native American ischemic stroke patients enrolled in a national Cerner database serving 700 hospitals, should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.