Doctors' Notes

Stroke Awareness: R.I.P. Nate Dogg

Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents and husband and wife physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via digitalpitches@ebony.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 


Not long ago, the music commuity lost Nate Dogg–one of the most legendary collaborators and hook singers to come on the hip-hop scene–to complications of stroke at the age of 41.  Sadly, at the time of his death in 2011, he had actually suffered several strokes-the first occurred when he was in his 30s.

What most don’t realize is that his story isn’t all that unusual in our community.  In fact, not only are Blacks much more likely to have a stroke, die from a stroke, or become disabled from a stroke, we also have strokes at much younger ages than any other group.

Also thought of as a “brain attack,” stroke happens when the blood supply to an area of the brain is disrupted.  Often caused by risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and obesity, stroke can also be linked to heart disease, family history, and heart rhythm problems.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to make sure you are doing all you can to decrease your risk of this dangerous disease.  The next time you are listening to the hits that Nate Dogg is best known for, remember his legacy by making sure you know the factors that can increase your risk for stroke.

Here are some tips that in the words of Nate Dogg can help you “Regulate” your risk for stroke:

Regulate your weight.  Obesity is a huge risk factor for stroke and other chronic diseases that also lead to stroke.  Research shows that 8 out of 10 Black women, 7 out of 10 Black men, and 5 out of 10 Black children are overweight or obese.  Let’s be the agents of change in our own families!

Regulate your blood pressure.  Almost 1 out of every 2 adults in our community has high blood pressure.  In addition to increased risk of stroke, uncontrolled blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness.

Regulate your blood sugar.  Diabetes is a leading cause for stroke.  One in 3 people living with diabetes have no idea they have it.  If you are a known diabetic or you’re not sure if you have diabetes, visit your doctor to make sure your blood sugars are controlled.

Regulate your lifestyle choices.  Avoid smoking, alcohol, and the urge to be a couch potato.  Those that lead healthy, active lifestyles drastically decrease their risk for stroke.


It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors:

Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!