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Strokes More Common in Southern States: CDC
Date:5/24/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- While fewer people in the United States are dying from strokes, the number of strokes has remained about the same, health officials report. And their findings bear out the South's reputation as the nation's so-called "stroke belt."

According to the report on stroke prevalence from 2006 to 2010, the number of self-reported strokes dipped slightly from 2.7 percent to 2.6 percent during that time. However, disparities still exist by geography, race and ethnicity, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Overall, there is not much change in these five years," said lead report author Dr. Jing Fang, an epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

Only two states -- Georgia and South Dakota -- showed a significant decrease, she added.

However, deaths from stroke decreased significantly, with the CDC reporting a 3.6 percent decline from 2007 to 2008. More people survive strokes primarily because of better treatment.

Since this report is based on people reporting they had a stroke, it's no surprise that reported strokes did not drop significantly, and actually an increase in reported stroke would be expected, Fang said.

"Since mortality has decreased it means that more people say: 'yes, they had a stroke,'" she said.

The report was published in the May 25 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Geographically, there continues to be high incidence of stroke in Southeastern states, although some other states had high rates.

States with the highest rates of stroke include South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Nevada.

Those with the lowest rates include New York, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the New England states.

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