As expected, numbers of strokes increase as people get older in all ethnic groups. Interestingly, in study participants who were free of diabetes in 1988-91, there were no ethnic differences in the proportions of people who developed strokes during follow-up. However, when we looked at people who had diabetes at the time of the baseline studies in 1988-91, we found that both Indian Asians and African Caribbeans with diabetes were twice as likely to develop strokes as Europeans with diabetes.
We also found that the MRI brain scans showed that African Caribbeans had more early signs of blood vessel problems in the brain than Europeans and that this was particularly related to having diabetes. These findings suggests that diabetes is especially harmful to people in our ethnic minorities, and although we don’t yet know why this is, it may be because the blood vessels in the brain are more affected by diabetes and pre-diabetes making them less able to cope with day to day changes in blood pressure – more research is needed to confirm this.
(MRI scans from the Indian Asians haven’t yet been fully analysed… coming soon)
For more information about stroke, visit The Stroke Association.