The Lancet: By 2030, 12 million will die from strokes each year

Strokes are no longer an issue for the old, researchers argue

Topics: Access to Care, Quality, Performance Improvement, Appropriateness, Mortality, Cardiovascular, Service Lines, Neurosciences

October 24, 2013

A new study in The Lancet shows that stroke rates are on the rise worldwide—and if they continue at this pace, an estimated 12 million stroke deaths will occur each year by 2030, up from about six million deaths in 2010.

For the study, researchers from the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand assessed the global burden of strokes and emerging trends using data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010.

On the rise: Stroke numbers over two decades

The researchers noted a major increase in the global stroke burden between 1990 and 2010:
  • 68% more people had a first stroke;
  • 84% more people were stroke survivors; and
  • 26% more people died from a stroke.

In 2010, 16.9 million people had a first stroke, 5.9 million people died from a stroke, and 33 million were living as stroke survivors, according to the study.

Researchers found that stroke rates are growing fastest in low-income countries and in younger age groups. There was a 25% increased incidence of stroke in people ages 19 to 65 from 1990 to 2010—suggesting "that stroke should no longer be regarded as a disease of old age," according to lead author Valery Feigin.

If current trends continue…

Researchers estimate that, if current stroke trends continue, there will be 12 million stroke deaths and 70 million stroke survivors each year by 2030.

"In view of the worldwide epidemic of diabetes and increasing prevalence of other cardiovascular risk factors in young adults and overall, especially in low-income and middle-income countries, the shift in stroke burden towards younger populations is likely to continue globally unless effective preventive strategies are urgently implemented," Feigin writes.

The study "clearly shows that, despite some improvements in stroke prevention and management in high-income countries, the growth and aging of the global population is leading to a rise in the number of young and old patients with stroke," University of Burgundy's Maurice Giroud wrote in an accompanying editorial. She added that 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" (Feigin et al., The Lancet, 10/24; Neale, MedPage Today, 10/23).

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