Globally one in four people over 25 yrs has significant stroke risk

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stroke, human brain

Latvian women had the world’s highest estimated lifetime stroke risk in 2016

Globally, one in four people over age 25 has significant stroke risk during their lifetime, according to a new study published  in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers found a nearly five-fold difference in lifetime stroke risk worldwide, with the highest risk in East Asia and Central and Eastern Europe, and lowest in sub-Saharan Africa.

The lifetime stroke risk for 25-year-olds in 2016 ranged from 8% to 39%, depending on where they live; people in China have the highest risk.

THE HIGHEST LIFETIME RISK AMONG MEN WAS IN EAST ASIA (40.6%); HIGHEST LIFETIME RISKS AMONG WOMEN WERE IN EASTERN EUROPE (36.5%) AND EAST ASIA (36.3%)

The study estimated lifetime stroke risk starting at age 25, covering 195 countries and territories from 1990 t0 2016 by age and sex.

Using estimates from the Global Burden of Disease study (GBD), researchers found that in 2016, the three regions with the highest estimated lifetime risk of stroke were East Asia (38.8%), Central Europe (31.7%), and Eastern Europe (31.6%); the region with the lowest risk was eastern sub-Saharan Africa (11.8%).

The estimated global lifetime risk of stroke from age 25 onward was 24.9% in 2016 with the risk of ischemic stroke being 18.3% and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke was 8.2%. Ischemic stroke occurs when a clot within a blood vessel prevents blood supply to the brain, whereas hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures.

Among 21 regions, the highest lifetime risk among men was in East Asia (40.6%), whereas the highest lifetime risks among women were in Eastern Europe (36.5%) and East Asia (36.3%). The greatest risk among men, at 41.1%, was in China; the greatest risk among women, at 41.7%, was in Latvia.

“It is imperative that physicians warn their patients about preventing strokes and other vascular diseases at earlier points in patients’ lives. We found extremely high lifetime risk for stroke, and based on other research we evaluated, it is clear that younger adults need to think about long-term health risks. They can make a real difference by eating healthier diets, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol,” said Dr. Gregory Roth, Assistant Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, and senior author on the study.

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