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Large Fall in Stroke Rates in US

First Posted: Jul 16, 2014 09:06 AM EDT
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A recent study states that stroke rates have fallen and fewer people are dying following a stroke.

The study was done by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers and in their 20-year study they found a 24 percent fall in first-time strokes and a 20 percent drop in deaths in each decade,

There was a dramatic decline in the rates of stroke in the age group above 65 but not much improvement was seen among the younger age group.

Josef Coresh, MD, PhD, and co-author of the study, says "We can congratulate ourselves that we are doing well, but stroke is still the No. 4 cause of death in the United States. This research points out the areas that need improvement. It also reminds us that there are many forces threatening to push stroke rates back up and if we don't address them head-on, our gains may be lost.".

Stroke affects 800,000 people in the United States every year and kills 130,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The researchers used the  Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study from  the late 1980's to analysis 15,792 participants from the age group 45 to 65. The 24-year study ended in 2011.

They found that  7 percent of the patients had a stroke during the study period  and  58 percent of these died by the end of the study. This translated into  21 percent, 40 percent and 58 percent dying within one year, five years and by the end of the study in 2011, respectively. Every decade saw a decrease in stroke death rates, it came down to 8 for every 100 cases.

The fall in stroke rates is attributed to control over obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking. But the researchers say the increase in diabetes is again worrisome as it leads to complications, which can lead to stroke later.  

Lack of  physical exercise and obesity could explain the reason for why the rate of  stroke is still high in middle aged adults  said an editorial accompanying the study written by Ralph Sacco and Chuanhui Dong of the University of Miami  reports the TheLeafChronicle.

This report was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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