A decrease in stroke deaths, but a warning of potential reversal

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Over the course of 44 years, from 1975 to 2019, there has been a notable decline in stroke-related fatalities in the United States.

However, recent data suggests that this positive trend may be at risk of reversal. In this article, we’ll explore the findings of a comprehensive study and its implications for stroke prevention and treatment.

Decline in Stroke Deaths

During the aforementioned period, the rate of stroke-related deaths per 100,000 individuals exhibited a substantial decrease. Among women, this rate dropped from 88 to 31, while for men, it decreased from 112 to 39.

This decline is noteworthy, considering that stroke risk typically increases with age. To put it simply, a 75-year-old individual faces a stroke risk that is 100 times higher than that of a 35-year-old.

Consequently, even a 10% reduction in stroke deaths among 75-year-olds could offset a twofold increase in stroke deaths among 35-year-olds.

Despite the encouraging decline in stroke deaths, there are emerging concerns that this trend may be reversing.

If improvements in stroke prevention and treatment do not continue, there is a risk that the number of stroke-related fatalities may begin to rise once again.

The data reveals that the rate of stroke deaths reached its lowest point in 2014 but has started to increase in the final five years of the study period.

Cande Ananth, the lead researcher of the study, noted that individuals born later, particularly those born around 1960 and onwards, face a higher likelihood of dying from a stroke at any age.

While the study did not pinpoint the exact reasons for this concerning shift, other research suggests a potential connection to the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

The research team conducted a thorough analysis of death records spanning 44 years. They meticulously tracked nearly every adult under the age of 85 who succumbed to stroke during this period, amounting to over 4.3 million deaths.

A significant innovation in this study was the sorting of individuals by their birth year, revealing a steady rise in the risk of stroke-related mortality from the late 1950s to the early 1990s.

Notable Discoveries

The study yielded two important findings:

  1. The rate of deaths resulting from ischemic strokes, which occur when a blood vessel to the brain becomes blocked, decreased by approximately 80%.
  2. The rate of deaths resulting from hemorrhagic strokes, which occur when a blood vessel leaks or bursts, declined by approximately 65%.

Additionally, the gender disparity in stroke deaths narrows as individuals age. At the age of 55, men are more than twice as likely as women to die from a stroke.

However, by the age of 85, the stroke-related mortality rates become nearly identical for men and women.

Cande Ananth emphasized, “After nearly four decades of declining stroke-related mortality, the risk appears to be increasing in the United States. Our research underscores the need for novel strategies to combat this alarming trend.”

For those interested in stroke-related health, consider exploring studies that discuss the positive impact of a breakfast on blood vessel health and the potential benefits of olive oil in reducing the risks of heart disease and stroke.

Furthermore, recent research highlights the protective effects of the Mediterranean diet on brain health and the potential advantages of consuming wild blueberries for heart and brain health.

The study’s findings were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, serving as a valuable insight into the trajectory of stroke-related mortality in the United States.

If you care about stroke, please read studies about how to eat to prevent stroke, and diets high in flavonoids could help reduce stroke risk.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about how Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and wild blueberries can benefit your heart and brain.

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