A new report on stroke mortality confirms that seven southern states continue to told the title of having this highest stroke risk in the country, up to 50% higher in some states compared to the rest of the country. These states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The study authors also added, "Our results cannot pinpoint a specific explanation, but they are consistent with other research suggesting that the roots of stroke risk begin in childhood or even infancy,"
If you’ve been following this blog or read my book, Sleep, Interrupted, you’ll remember that having obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk of stroke by 50% or more. I’ve also stated that sleep apnea is not something that suddenly develops when you’re in your 60s and 70s. The risk factors for sleep apnea begin when you’re an infant. Your upper airway anatomy determines your risk for sleep apnea later in life. This is also when cardiovascular risk factors are first established.
If you look at obesity rates in the deep south, they’re some of the highest in the country. So is depression and ADHD, which all happen to be strongly linked with obstructive sleep apnea. If you were born in one of these states and eventually move to another state later in life, your stroke risk remains increased.
Interestingly, residency in these states had little association with conventional stroke risk factors, social resources, or access to medical care.
What’s your take on this interesting finding? Please enter your thoughts in the comments box below.