Image of Fernando D. Testai, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA

Targeted prevention programs may help Hispanic/Latino people avoid a second stroke and other adverse cardiovascular events — especially older adults, women, the uninsured and those born or living in the United States for more than 10 years, according to a new report on stroke survivors.

Most Hispanic/Latino people in the United States are aware of their cardiovascular risk factors, the authors said. But less than half of the adults in the study had healthy blood pressure and cholesterol, and only approximately half had healthy blood sugar levels, according to research published Thursday in Stroke. Older age among participants was associated with uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes, the investigators reported. 

The data reveal that these adults are receiving “inadequate treatment and support,” said co-author Fernando D. Testai, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It’s a wake-up call for the medical community. Despite our best efforts, Hispanic and Latino populations still seem to be undertreated for their vascular risk factors,” he said. “I didn’t expect the numbers to be so dismal.”

Healthcare providers can help change the numbers by informing and supporting Hispanic/Latino adults to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors in order to reduce their cardiovascular risk, Testai said.

Data came from more than 16,000 participants in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), a longitudinal study of the health of people of Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Central and South American background. Participants self-reported their history of stroke or transient ischemic attack.