Overall Decline in Death Rates from Stroke in Europe - European Medical Journal

Overall Decline in Death Rates from Stroke in Europe

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MORTALITY rates from three forms of stroke are declining overall in Europe, according to a study presented in a European Society of Cardiology (ESC) press release. The analysis also displayed significant variations in death rates between different countries, disease types, and genders, indicating the areas where greater efforts to tackle these conditions need to be focussed.

Decreased Mortality Rate

The analysis showed there were major decreases in death rates from ischaemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke, and sub-arachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) in 65% of countries across Europe for both men and women from 1980–2016. In 6% and 4% of countries, however, there was an increase in deaths for men and women, respectively. Overall, age-standardised mortality rates from stroke were much lower in Europe compared with the rest of the continent.

There were also a number of countries in which reductions in mortality rates from these conditions had slowed (7 in men and 6 in women), as well as others in which there were no changes (8 in men and 10 in women).

Countering Inequalities

“Our findings highlight a need to counter inequalities by understanding local contexts in disease occurrence and treatment. In particular, we need to encourage the implementation of evidence-based recommendations in the prevention and treatment of stroke in all countries,” commented Dr Nick Townsend, University of Bath, Bath, UK, who led the research.

Variations Between Disease Type

For both haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke, there were significant decreases in age-standardised death rates amongst men and women in over half the countries with available data. In eight countries, there were increased deaths from ischaemic strokes in men and nine countries in women compared with none in haemorrhagic stroke. For SAH, there were decreases in death rates in 56% and 42% of countries in men and women, respectively, whilst the rates had increased in 5% and 9% of countries in men and women, respectively. The team noted that SAH amongst women was the only stroke type in which more countries had plateauing or increasing trends than those with decreases in recent years.

“It is not enough to consider cerebrovascular disease as just one condition and we must consider each individual stroke type,” added Dr Townsend.

Possible Factors

Possible reasons for the overall decline in mortality rates in cerebrovascular disease include improvements in treatment and the success of lifestyle prevention strategies, such as encouraging people to stop smoking. The slow down or increased rates observed in certain countries could be due to the growing prevalence of diabetes, obesity, and higher cholesterol levels.


James Coker, Reporter

For the source and further information about the study, click here.

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