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Stroke Gaining Ground as a Global Killer

FRIDAY, May 19, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Worldwide deaths from the most common type of stroke have risen significantly in the past three decades and will increase even more sharply in the years ahead, researchers say.

Ischemic stroke deaths grew from 2 million in 1990 to more than 3 million in 2019. They are expected to reach nearly 5 million by 2030, according to a report published online May 17 in the journal Neurology.

Ischemic strokes are caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain.

“This increase in the global death toll of ischemic stroke along with a predicted further increase in the future is concerning, but ischemic stroke is highly preventable,” said study author Dr. Lize Xiong, of Tongji University in Shanghai, China.

“Our results suggest that a combination of lifestyle factors like smoking and a diet high in sodium along with other factors such as high blood pressure and high body mass index can lead to an increased risk of stroke,” Xiong said in a journal news release.

The news isn't all bad, however. Data from the Global Health Data Exchange also showed that the stroke rate decreased from 66 strokes per 100,000 people in 1990 to 44 strokes per 100,000 people in 2019.

“This decrease in the stroke rate likely means that the overall increase in the number of strokes worldwide is mainly due to population growth and aging,” Xiong said.

The researchers predicted the number of deaths for 2020 to 2030, estimating that these would grow to 4.9 million by 2030.

This could be as high as 6.4 million, if risk factors aren’t controlled or prevented, the study authors noted.

The seven major risk factors for ischemic stroke are smoking, a diet high in sodium, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney dysfunction, high blood sugar and high body mass index.

Quality and accuracy of disease data from some countries can’t be guaranteed, which is a study limitation.

More information

The American Stroke Association has more on ischemic stroke.

SOURCE: Neurology, news release, May 17, 2023

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