Stroke rate has fallen by 40% since 1995, study finds

London: Incidence of strokes plummets between 1995 and 2010 - but not for black patients or for those under 45

Increases in healthy living and improvements in prevention have resulted in a substantial drop in the rate of strokes, according to a new study.

The incidence of strokes in a large area of south London fell by almost 40% between 1995 and 2010, according to researchers from King's College in London.

Rates fell in men, women, white patients and those aged more than 45 - but not in those aged 15 to 44, or black patients, said the team, after investigating data in the South London Stroke Register, which covers an area with a population of more than 350,000.

The researchers, whose findings are published in the medical journal Stroke, say the ethnic disparities - there were rises in black patients - may be because of different cardiovascular risk factors.

"We observed a higher prevalence of hypertension and diabetes mellitus in black patients compared with white patients in each of the four time periods in all age groups," they say.

"Other possible explanations for ethnic disparities include cultural differences in perceptions of health and the health care system, environmental exposures, genetic factors, socioeconomic status, and educational attainment."

The increased risk for younger people could be because of a rise in classical cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, and high cholesterol level, said the team.


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