Stroke and coronary heart disease comprise two of the top three leading causes of death in the US and are of increasing importance in developing countries. While heart disease is the leading cause of death, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability. Stroke continues to have a disproportionate impact on mortality for blacks compared to whites. The aging and rapid growth of the black and Hispanic population has the potential to lead to future increases in the public health impact of stroke and vascular disease. The economic burden in the US due to stroke among Hispanics and blacks from 2005 to 2050 is projected to be $313 billion for Hispanics, and $379 billion for blacks.

Race-ethnic disparities are driven by differences in stroke incidence and vascular risk factors and have remained significant even after accounting for differences in socioeconomic status. Healthy People 2010 called for an elimination of race-ethnic disparities, but did not provide a clear method to achieve this lofty goal.

The principal goals of the NOMAS are to help fill the gaps in our knowledge of the epidemiology of stroke and vascular disease particularly among blacks and Hispanics in order to improve future prevention efforts. NOMAS is also committed to developing better stroke prevention programs to improve the health of the surrounding community as well as to increase the community’s awareness about the risk factors for stroke and what steps those at risk can take to prevent stroke from occurring. Risk factors include heart problems, hypertension, diabetes, family history of stroke or coronary disease, obesity, and smoking, to name several of the most serious risks.

Stroke affects blacks and Hispanics more than whites, regardless of socio-economic status. In addition, Hispanics are the most rapidly growing minority in this country. Caribbean Hispanics are one of the two major groups of Hispanics in the US. NOMAS aims to study stroke and raise awareness in the growing Hispanic population in the United States.

Facts of Stroke

  • About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke kills more than 137,000 people a year. That’s about 1 of every 18 deaths. It’s the No. 3 cause of death behind diseases of the heart and cancer.
  • On average, every 4 minutes someone dies of stroke.
  • About 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60 percent in females.
  • The 2006 stroke death rates per 100,000 population for specific groups were 41.7 for white males, 41.1 for white females, 67.7 for black males and 57.0 for black females.

Source: American Heart Association

Risk Factors for a Stroke

  • Heart problems
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of stroke or coronary disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Studies suggest a link between chiropractic neck manipulations and an increased risk of stroke

Warning Signs of a Stroke

Signs of Numbness Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
Stroke Signs Confusion Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Stroke Signs Vision Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Stroke Sign Dizziness Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Stroke Signs Headache Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Source: American Heart Association

Resources for Patients

Resources for Researchers

  • Collaborative opportunities: If you are interested in accessing the NOMAS database for research analysis in collaboration with University of Miami and Columbia University, please review our Data Sharing and Publication Policies and complete the NOMAS Data Access Form. Once complete, please submit it to Hannah Gardener, ScD, Research Scientist, Department of Neurology, University of Miami via email at
  • Global Vascular Risk Calculator
    The Global Vascular Risk Calculator (GVRC) combines traditional, behavioral, and anthropometric risk factors, uses continuous variables for physiological parameters, and is applicable to non-white subjects and could be used as a tool to improve primary prevention strategies. Published abstract on GVRC.

Disclaimer: This calculator is for research purposes only and this site does not provide medical advice. Information on the site is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. Our content is in no way intended to substitute for consulting a medical professional. Always consult a trained medical professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice as a result of something which you may have read on this website.