This could curb rising stroke deaths

This could curb rising stroke deaths

The number of stroke deaths across the globe could increase by 50% by 2050, researchers predict, sparking the need for interventions to mitigate the burden of mortality and disability caused by stroke.

Stroke is the second-leading cause of death worldwide and the third-leading cause of disability, according to a recent report by the World Stroke Organization – Lancet Neurology Commission. More than 6.6 million people died from stroke in 2020 – and experts predict that number could rise to 9.7 million fatalities annually in the next 30 years.

Hoping to reverse these trajectories, researchers identified a set of “pragmatic solutions” aiming to reduce health disparities and tackle the global burden of stroke. The proposed evidence-based interventions fall under four pillars: surveillance, prevention, acute care and rehabilitation.

“The number of people affected by stroke worldwide is rising at an alarming rate. But nearly 80% of strokes are preventable,” says Dr. Timothy Mikesell, a neurologist at Advocate Health Care. “There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce overall risk and impact within a community.”

In the last 30 years, the number of people impacted by stroke has almost doubled, the commission’s analysis says, noting low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected. The incidence of stroke is also increasing in people under age 55.

Prevention strategies, evidence-based treatment and rehabilitation services, awareness campaigns, low-cost surveillance and the establishment of stroke care networks are among the action items in the commission’s report, which recommends “urgent implementation.”

“Managing risk factors, such as hypertension and diabetes, can make a big difference in stroke prevention. It’s also important to maintain healthy habits, including eating healthy, exercising and not smoking,” Dr. Mikesell says. “For those who do experience a stroke, early detection, quick treatment and comprehensive care are critical to recovery.”

If you think someone may be experiencing a stroke, remember the BE FAST warning signs (Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms, Speech, Terrible headache and Time to call 911).

Want to learn more about your risk for stroke? Take a free online quiz here.

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About the Author

Lauren Rohr
Lauren Rohr

Lauren Rohr is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She studied journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and spent the last several years working as a news reporter covering public health, local government, politics, education and all facets of life in the Chicago suburbs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, staying active and cheering on her favorite sports teams, especially the Chicago Blackhawks and the Fighting Illini.