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Young Adults Increasingly Affected By Strokes, New Study

Update Date: Oct 24, 2013 02:08 PM EDT

An alarming new report reveals that young and middle aged people are increasingly having more strokes than ever before. 

"This is the first study to compare incidence and impacts of stroke between countries on a global scale," Professor Valery Feigin, Director of the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences at AUT and lead researcher of the study, said in a news release. "The worldwide stroke burden is growing very fast and there is now an urgent need for culturally acceptable and affordable stroke prevention, management and rehabilitation strategies to be developed and implemented worldwide."

The Auckland University of Technology reported, "Worldwide, there has been a startling 25% increase in the number of stroke cases among people aged 20 to 64 years over the last 20 years. Strokes in this age group now make up 31% of the total number of strokes, compared to 25% before 1990," according to the report "Global and regional burden of stroke during 1990-2010: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010."

In a more recent report that analyzed data to determine the estimated rate of illness, disability caused by stroke and premature death, researchers found an extensive amount of information.

Researchers looked through data from 21 regions of the world for 1990, 2005, and 2010.

"Numbers of people having a first stroke increased significantly to 16.9 million in 2010 (up by 68%), stroke survivors to 33 million (84% increase), and associated disability and illness to 102.2 million (up by 12%)," reported AUT according to the new analysis. "If present trends continue, stroke deaths, survivors, and disability and illness will more than double by 2030 (to 12 million, 70 million, and 200 million respectively)."

Researchers also found that in low-income and middle-income countries (LMIC) stroke kills more lives, showing a 42% higher mortality rate than in high-income countries. 

"This is in part because of a rise in the prevalence of risk factors involving unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking in these countries," reported AUT.

Researchers believe that a plan of educational action should be made globally to reduce the consumption of salt, calories, alcohol and tobacco in individuals, the known detriments to having a stroke.

"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," said Maurice Giroud, Agnes Jacquin, and Yannick Béjot 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."

The findings are published in the journal The Lancet.

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