Every 40 seconds, someone in this country has a stroke. African American women are the hardest hit when it comes to these deadly brain attacks. Black women are twice as likely to have a stroke and much less likely to survive one than white women. But, at Morehouse School of Medicine one stroke researchers says the “gold standard” stroke treatment, tPA, may not work as well for African American women.
Mary Carter is a stroke survivor. On April 6, 2015, she says her head was killing her, her arm felt weak, and her blood pressure was crazy high. “Normal” blood pressure is 120/80 or lower.
“It was (well) over 200/100,” Carter says.
The 62-year old retired BellSouth customer service rep says she went to a drugstore clinic to see a nurse.
“She told me I had a sinus infection,” Carter says. ” She prescribed me some medicine and sent me home.”
The next morning, Carter says she woke up disoriented.
“I got up, I couldn’t walk, I just fell down,” she says. “I thought I was getting ready to die.”
Paramedics rushed Mary, who was having a stroke, to the emergency room. But, it was too late for her to safely be given the clot-busting drug tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator. It’s the “gold standard” emergency treatment for a stroke caused by a blood clot. It typically has to be given in the first three hours of a stroke.