Stroke death rates are rising again after 40 years of decline

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In a study from Rutgers University, scientists found did an analysis of U.S. stroke deaths from 1975 to 2019 and found both a dramatic decline and the potential for an important resurgence.

Stroke mortality (per 100,0000) plummeted from 88 to 31 for women and 112 to 39 for men between 1975 and 2019 in the United States.

Total stroke deaths fell despite the rise in age-adjusted risk because stroke rates skyrocket as people get older.

A 10% reduction in the death rate for 75-year-olds would more than offset a doubling of the fatality rate among 35-year-olds because strokes are 100 times more common in 75-year-olds.

However, the team found the most recent figures demonstrate that total stroke fatalities will rise as millennials age.

Age-adjusted stroke deaths per 100,000 people bottomed out in 2014 and climbed again during the last five years of the study period.

Starting around 1960, the later people were born, the higher their risks of suffering a fatal ischemic stroke at any particular age.

This study didn’t identify a cause for this trend, but other research suggests the main culprits are increasing rates of obesity and diabetes.

In the study, the analysis used a comprehensive death-certificate database to identify virtually every adult under the age of 85 who died from a stroke during the 44 years—4,332,220 deaths in all.

It was the first stroke-death analysis to divide patients by their year of birth (cohort) and the first to identify the steady rise in age-adjusted ischemic stroke risk from the late 1950s to the early 1990s.

This “age-period-cohort analysis,” which further divided patients by their age at death, also allowed the study team to make other novel insights.

The team says after nearly four decades of declining stroke-related mortality, the risk appears to be increasing in the United States.

The current research underscores the need for novel strategies to combat this alarming trend.

If you care about stroke, please read studies that diets high in flavonoids could help reduce stroke risk, and MIND diet could slow down cognitive decline after stroke.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about how Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and  coffee could help lower your risk of stroke and dementia.

The study was conducted by Cande Ananth et al and published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

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