I still cant figure it out. Name a medical problem and its
probably affecting or infecting African-Americans more than any other racial or
ethnic group. Whether it is HIV/AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, or high blood
pressure, we, as African-Americans are at the top of the list when it comes to
medical problems that are killing or disabling people in this country.
The recent rumors about Nathaniel
D. Hale, a.k.a. Nate Dogg, suffering a stroke in December and having to
recover in a rehabilitation hospital only reinforces my commitment to raising
the awareness about stroke.
Each year in the United States there are more than 700,000
new strokes. Stroke is the third leading
cause of death in the United States preceded only by heart disease and cancer. More
than 100,000 African-Americans each year have will have a stroke, and we are
two times more likely to have a stroke compared to white Americans.
Stroke, in its simplest definition, is a permanent loss of
blood flow to a part of the brain. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic
or non-bleeding stroke and hemorrhagic
or bleeding stroke. Ischemic strokes are the most common and result from
blockages in the blood vessels that go to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes result when blood vessels
rupture or explode causing blood to leak into the brain.
Approximately 83% of strokes are ischemic and 17% are
hemorrhagic. The brain is an extremely
complex organ that controls various bodily functions: chewing, swallowing,
talking, walking, seeing etc If a stroke
occurs and blood flow cant reach a particular region of the brain, that part
of the body will not work as it should. A stroke can also result in death;
however, the disability that results from this disease cost us millions of
health care dollars each year.
The risk factors for stroke that we can control or change
include, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise,
poor nutrition, substance abuse (especially cocaine, heroin, amphetamines),
socioeconomic status, and geographic location. The risk factors that we cannot
Age – as we get
older the chance of having a stroke increases
Gender – men have
more strokes than women, until we get older when the numbers start to even out
Family history -
if you have a family history of stroke, your risk increases; and if you have
had a stroke in the past your risk is also increased.
The warning signs of
Sudden numbness or weakness
of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)Sudden confusion, trouble
speaking or understanding speechSudden trouble seeing in one
or both eyesSudden trouble walking,
dizziness, loss of balance and/or coordinationSudden severe headache with
no known cause
you are aware of these warning signs and call 911 immediately, you can not only
save someones life, but significantly reduce the chances of your friend,
family or loved one suffering long term disability.
Every single minute counts!
Time lost is a brain lost. There
are treatment options available if a stroke is detected in time.
Remember that a stroke is not inevitable; if you know the
risk factors and control them, see your doctor on a regular basis, get
physically active, stop smoking, and eat a balanced and healthy diet rich in
fruits and vegetables and low in fats, you can significantly reduce your risk
of having a stroke.
Join with me Tha Hip Hop Doc, the American Stroke
Association, our proud national sponsors Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi
Pharmaceuticals, and the thousands of stroke survivors and volunteers to help
raise awareness about this devastating disease. The Power to End Stroke, an aggressive education and awareness campaign,
is leading the way to positively change the face of stroke in the African-American
You are the power to end stroke! Call the American Stroke Association at
888-4-STROKE or visit the web site www.strokeassociation.org
for more information. Take the American
Stroke Association pledge making a personal commitment to reduce your risk of
Nate Doggs situation, though unfortunate, will save many
who respect and love Hip-Hop. Without
even knowing it, he has positively influenced the lives of those who respect
the game by raising awareness about one of Americas silent killers. Take your life and your health seriously;
its the most precious gift you have!
Its Tha Hip Hop Doc, they call me H2D! Come on now; lets get Hip-Hop healthy! Peace, Im out!
Dr. Rani Whitfield
is a board certified Family Practice and Sports Medicine Physician who lives in
Baton Rouge, LA. He is affectionately known as Tha Hip Hop Doc as he uses
music and medicine to educate young people on health issues. Feel free to shoot
your medical related questions to him at DrRani@h2doc.com and visit his website