Stroke rates have been falling over the past 20 years, but findings from an extensive study have
found that Maori and Pacifi c populations in Auckland are not benefi ting from this drop. Research carried out by HRC Pacific Health PhD scholar Kristie Carter, shows that stroke rates for Pacific people have increased since 1981 to almost double that of New Zealand Europeans.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand and a major cause of disability. This number is predicted to double by 2020.
The study has drawn similar conclusions to related research in the United States and the United Kingdom, which showed disparities between African-Americans and Caucasians.
Gary Moller Comments:
With the other half of my family being Polynesian, I feel I have a reasonably good insight into the healthcare practices of Polynesians, including the standard of health services provided. The standard of health care; especially following an episode of ill health could be much, much better and much more can be done to improve risk factors, principally diet, which trends away from healthy traditional foods to most unhealthy Western junk food.
However; an equally important factor and probably the most important reason why Maori, Pacific Islanders and Africans suffer substantial declines in health status across the board, when moving from their natural homelands to higher latitudes and large cities, is Vitamin D deficiency. While I need just 5 minutes of sunlight a day to keep healthy, my darker skinned relatives require from 10-50 times as much sunlight, depending on their complexion.
In some populations as many as 90% of urbanised dark skinned people are Vitamin D deficient and this greatly increases their susceptibility to all kinds of serious health problems including heart attack, heart failure, diabetes, stroke, internal cancers, depression and osteoporosis.
While studies, like the one referred to here are useful, I remain frustrated that the obvious and extemely well documented role of Vitamin D (Obtained mainly via sunlight) continues to be ignored by health experts who should know much better. Vitamin D levels are seldom, if ever measured, in cases of ill health, including stroke.
If any of your family or friends suffers a bad turn of health, including stroke, insist that his or her doctor orders a test of Vitamin D levels in their blood.
To be exact; what you are asking to be measured is their "25(OH) vitamin D". If those levels are found to be below 40 ng/ml, you must get those levels boosted immediately and the best way to do that is to recommend an extended holiday in a place like tropical Rarotongo or Samoa.