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Stroke Cases Decrease in Last 50 Years
Written by Jeanne Bohm, Ph.D.   
In the past 50 years, the incidence of stroke in the U.S. has declined, although the severity has not, according to a study in the December 27 issue of JAMA.

 

There are more than 750,000 new strokes occurring each year in the United States which makes it the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer and the leading neurologic cause of long-term disability. Prior estimates of the incidence and severity of stroke were variable.

Raphael Carandang, M.D., of Boston University, and colleagues examined data from the Framingham Study to determine long-term trends in the incidence, lifetime risk, severity, and 30-day risk of death from clinical stroke. This study included 9,152 Framingham Study original participants and offspring undergoing follow-up for up to 50 years over three consecutive time-periods (1950-1977, 1978-1989, and 1990-2004). Participants were assessed for stroke risk every 2 years and active surveillance for occurrence of stroke or death.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted annual incidence of clinical stroke in ages 55 to 94 years decreased over the 3 periods. The lifetime risk of clinical stroke (by age 90 years) decreased from 19.5 percent to 14.5 percent in men age 65 years and from 18.0 percent to 16.1 percent in women. Age-adjusted stroke severity did not vary however, death within 30 days of stroke decreased significantly in men (from 23 percent to 14 percent) but not significantly in women (from 21 percent to 20 percent).

The implications of the study indicate there is improved control of risk factors to lower stroke risk but a need for greater primary prevention efforts to reduce the lifetime risk, severity, and 30-day mortality following a stroke. 

Sources:

JAMA Media Release

Trends in Incidence, Lifetime Risk, Severity, and 30-Day Mortality of Stroke Over the Past 50 Years. JAMA. 2006;296:2939-2946.

 

About the Author

Jeanne Bohm, Ph.D. is a cancer biologist by training, a medical writer and an experienced science educator.

The author has no financial relationship to any of the companies listed in the article.

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