Family History of Stroke Among African Americans and Its Association With Risk Factors, Knowledge, Perceptions, and Exercise.


Aycock, D. M., Kirkendoll, K. D., Coleman, K. C., Clark, P. C., Albright, K. C., & Alexandrov, A. W.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:African Americans are at greater risk for stroke than whites are; however, it is unclear what role family history of stroke (FHS) plays in the adoption of healthier lifestyles among African Americans.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare modifiable risk factors, knowledge of stroke risk factors, perceived threat of stroke, perceived control of stroke, and exercise behaviors and intentions in African Americans with a FHS and those without a FHS.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted with rural African Americans aged 19 to 54 years participating in a mobile health clinic. Participants' stroke knowledge, perceptions of risk, exercise history and intent, physiologic data, and health history were collected.

RESULTS: Participants (N = 66) had a mean (SD) age of 43.3 (9.4) years and were mostly women, high school graduates, and unemployed. Participants with a FHS (n = 33) did not differ on average number of risk factors from those without a FHS. However, participants with a FHS were more likely to report a history of hypertension than were those without. There were no significant differences between groups in stroke knowledge, perceived threat and perceived control, or recent exercise performance, although participants with a FHS had significantly lower future intentions to exercise than did those without a FHS.

CONCLUSIONS: Family history of stroke was common in this sample; however, it did not translate into better understanding of stroke or better exercise behaviors and intentions. More can be done to identify African Americans with a FHS, especially those with multiple risk factors, to educate them about the significance of FHS while promoting lifestyle change and self-management.

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