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Strokes among younger people are increasing worldwide

A major new study also shows that strokes caused by high blood pressure and unhealthy lifestyles were now to blame for over half of stroke deaths.

STROKES AMONG YOUNG and middle aged people are on the rise with a 25 per cent increase in cases over the last 20 years according to new research.

A new study to be published in medical journal The Lancet shows that strokes suffered by people aged 20 to 64 years has undergone a starting rise. Strokes in this age group now make up 31 per cent of the total number of strokes, compared to 25 per cent before 1990.

The study futhermore points out that the overall amount of disability, illness and premature death caused by stroke is projected to more than double worldwide by 2030.

A second study also points out that haemorrhagic strokes, the deadliest form which are mainly caused by high blood pressure and unhealthy lifestyles, were now to blame for over half of stroke deaths.

“Despite some improvements in stroke prevention and management in high-income countries, the growth and ageing of the global population is leading to a rise in the number of young and old patients with stroke,” according to researchers from the University of Burgundy in France.

“Urgent preventive measures and acute stroke care should be promoted in low-income and middle-income countries, and the provision of chronic stroke care should be developed worldwide.”

Low income countries

The research also highlights the differing care being received by those in different regions worldwide. There were up to ten times as many stroke deaths and overall illness and disability between the most affected low income countries in eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and south and east Asia compared with the least affected higher-income countries in western Europe, Australasia, and North America.

Graeme J Hankey of the University of Western Australia says that battling the growth of strokes worldwide requires a variety of different approaches:

“Population-based mass strategies to reduce consumption of salt, calories, alcohol, and tobacco by improving education and the environment will complement high-risk strategies of identifying those at risk of haemorrhagic  stroke.”

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Rónán Duffy

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