Stroke Mortality Among Alaska Native People

Stroke Mortality Among Alaska Native People

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My article review is on, “Stroke Mortality Among Alaska Native People”, by Ronnie Horner. The Alaskan Natives have been suffering with the vast number of mortality rates caused by strokes. This article was written to successfully understand the Alaskan’s stroke problem or factors that contribute to this problem, and eventually find strategies that will aid in its prevention. The only problem that exists with trying to come up with strategies for prevention is the sparseness of the epidemiological data of the Alaskan Natives. It is hard to categorize the Alaskans in one separate group, the Horner states, “to its failure to consider Alaska Native People as one distinct cultural group, one among the many that comprise the American Indian/Alaska Native designation”(Horner 1). This creates a problem because it puts limitations on the efficiency of the epidemiology of the Alaskan Natives. With this being said, patterns have arisen in the number of stroke victims that are Alaskan Natives, “Stroke Mortality appears to be significantly elevated among relatively younger American Indians/Alaska Natives compared to US whites of similar age” (Horner 1). This shows that there must be an unknown factor that has led or caused the younger Natives to have a stroke. Something must had to change because the word “elevated” is used which indicates recently increased to what it normally was. It seems that Alaskan Natives are the number one ethnic group that is impacted by Stroke Mortality, Horner points out, “Of note, data for the 1990’s indicate that stroke mortality has decreased in all racial ethnic groups except for American Indians/ Alaskan Natives”(Horner 1). In detail this article attempts to figure out what factors are causing these elevations in stroke mortality that is not seen in any other ethnic group. Methods/Results/Conclusion The doctors had to first gather the death certificate data of the Alaskan Natives, Horner states, We conducted an analysis of death certificate data for the state of Alaska for the period 1984 to 2003, comparing age standardized stroke mortality rates among Alaska Natives residing in Alaska vs. US whites by age category, genders, stroke type, and time” (Horner 1). This will allow the doctors to examine the data to really conclude that Alaskan Natives were more prone to strokes than whites. With this data the doctors also need a population of Alaskans that they could carefully examine and study, Horner explains, “the study population was defined as all Alaskan residents who self-identified as Alaskan Native People.

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Alaskan Native people comprise those individuals whose ancestors occupied the geographic area that is now the state of Alaska” (Horner 1). To continue with their procedures they gathered information from the State Bureau of Vital Statistics, Horner acknowledges the findings from the Bureau, “Natives who were indicated to be residents of Alaska and had died of stroke in the years 1984 through 2003” (Horner 1). With this data and information, they were able to split the data up in to different categories, which allowed them to come up with some amazing facts. The categories that the doctors split the data up into were, age, gender, white-Alaskan, Native-Alaskan, and stroke types, (Hemorrhagic and Ischemic). They also separated these categories into specific time periods that were, 1984-1993, and 1994-2003. From the data the stroke mortality was similar between the white Alaskans and the Native Alaskans, Horner explains the only difference, “During the period 1984-1993, stroke mortality among Alaska Natives was similar to that of US Whites and Alaskan Whites, with the exception of hemorrhagic Stroke” (Horner 3). With the data and information collected from the medical experts it is safe for Horner to state, “Stroke Mortality is higher among Alaska Natives, especially woman, then among Us whites over the past 20 years, there has not been a significant decline in stroke mortality among Alaskan Natives” (Horner 1). Discussion The author has done a good job in trying to comprehend and analyze the epidemiology of stroke amongst the Alaskan Native. By doing this they have set up ways in which strategies of prevention could help the stroke problem that the Native Alaskan population. I believe that there attempt in this case was positive not negative, there is no flaws in their findings. Horner proves why is findings is beneficial, “We have begun the process of identifying the characteristics of those individuals within the Alaska Native Population who are at higher risk of death from stroke and the types of stroke for which the risk is elevated” (Horner 4). This process they are talking about will be crucial in finding prevention in the future. Theories There are some theories that might be the cause of the recent elevation of stroke mortality amongst the Alaskan Natives. This theory is based on the result of the Alaskan’s changing their normal diet to a much more unhealthy diet such as the western diet, Horner sates, “An explanation for the observed occurrence of stroke among Alaska Native people may reflect the substantial lifestyle changes that have been occurring in this cultural group over the last several decades specifically those related to the shift from a subsistence diet to a more westernized diet” (Horner 4). As a result of this, the Alaskan Natives are no longer eating their organic diet, they are now eating western diet that possesses all types of bad ingredients such as, high levels of fat, salt and sugar, Horner backs up this claim, “younger Alaska Natives have been moving away from the traditional diet, which is associated with better cardiovascular health. These dietary changes are associated with elevated blood pressure such as overweight, glucose intolerance, and hypertension” (Horner 4). Hypertension is the result of high blood pressure, this could result in strokes or heart attacks if not treated correctly, which mean this might be one of the causes why Alaskans Stroke Mortality is so high.
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