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Sinbad’s Stroke Draws Attention To Black People’s Heightened Risk Of Suffering Brain Attacks

Sinbad‘s family was seeking “prayers for his healing” after the 64-year-old comedian and actor recently suffered a stroke. They were cautiously hopeful and told the Associated Press that he has already begun his “road to recovery,” which is an important first step for any stroke survivors, doctors say.

“We are faithful and optimistic that he will bring laughter into our hearts soon,” a family statement said in part.

Well wishes from Sinbad’s fellow celebrities were pouring in.

It was unclear when Sinbad suffered his stroke or what treatment he was receiving, but beginning recovery quickly is key.

SEE ALSO: How To Conquer The Critical Health Challenges Facing Black America

“Starting rehabilitation as soon as possible after the cause of the stroke is treated is vital in stroke recovery,” according to Johns Hopkins stroke rehabilitation specialist April Pruski, M.D. “At Johns Hopkins, rehabilitation starts around 24 hours after a stroke.”

Sinbad’s condition drew attention to the unfriendly reminder that Black people are disproportionately at risk of suffering strokes even as data shows the rate has slowed since 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

It was the same cause of death for acclaimed filmmaker John Singleton last year, who died less than two weeks after he suffered a stroke that at the time was reported as being “mild.” Singleton was placed in a medically induced coma before his family removed him from life support at the age of 51 years old.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, the CDC explains. It’s often described as a brain attack. Brain cells die when they are starved of oxygen.

Approximately 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, making it the fifth leading cause of death for Americans. For African Americans, however, the risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high compared to whites. Blacks also suffer the highest rate of death due to stroke.

A stroke also occurs earlier in life for African Americans compared to other racial and ethnic groups, according to the National Stroke Association. Black stroke survivors are also more likely to become disabled and experience difficulties with daily living and activities.

There are several reasons for the higher risk among Blacks. High blood pressure is the top risk factor for stroke. One in three African Americans suffer from high blood pressure and are less likely to have it under control than other ethnic and racial groups.

Other risk factors include smoking, which doubles the chances of suffering a stroke. Obesity also signals a high chance of getting a stroke. People who are overweight typically are less physically active and consume unhealthy foods, particularly foods that are high in fat and sodium.

Most strokes can be prevented by keeping risk factors under control and making lifestyle changes, the CDC said. Take control by making efforts to lower blood pressure, sodium and cholesterol intake. Quit smoking or don’t start at all. Commit to staying physically active, and make regular doctor visits.


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