Stroke patients are getting younger and younger

Worldwide study: Patients get younger and younger with a stroke

According to a study, more and more young people around the world are suffering from a stroke. Almost a third of the cases concern the youngest and middle age groups. The numbers are expected to triple by 2030.

Researchers from 50 countries involved
The number of strokes among 20- to 64-year-olds has increased by a quarter worldwide in the past 20 years. This is reported by an international team of researchers after a comprehensive data analysis in the specialist journal "The Lancet". The scientists estimate that the number of people who will be ill or disabled as a result of a stroke or die prematurely will double by 2030. A total of 486 researchers from 50 countries, led by Valery Feigin, director of the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences at Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, New Zealand), evaluated 119 studies that included information on the number of strokes between 1990 and 2010.

83,000 under 20-year-olds suffer stroke The analysis of the figures would have shown that almost a third of all strokes (31 percent) now occur in 20- to 64-year-olds and in children (under 20 years). Every year, around 83,000 of the under 20 year olds suffered a stroke. The scientists also reported that 16.9 million people worldwide had a stroke for the first time in 2010. Compared to 1990, this is an increase of 68 percent. The overall rate of deaths is declining. But the absolute number of deaths rose by 26 percent to 5.9 million.

Poorer countries particularly hard hit It was also analyzed which regions of the world are particularly affected. The researchers found clear differences between nations with high and those with middle and low incomes. In the most affected countries in Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and southern and eastern Asia, the death rate is up to ten times higher than in the least affected countries in Western Europe, North America and Australia. The increased proportion of strokes among younger people is mainly due to a significant increase in cases in poorer countries.

Better education and prevention in rich countries It is believed that certain risk factors such as unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, smoking or lack of exercise have increased in these countries. In contrast, there would be the richer countries, in which improved information and prevention and the establishment of “stroke units”, ie specialized stroke facilities, would have reduced the number of strokes and their consequences.

Many deaths attributable to stroke The researchers also found in a second study that more than half of the deaths were due to a so-called hemorrhagic stroke. This is despite the fact that this form is only half as common as ischemic stroke, which leads to a sudden circulatory disorder in the brain, mostly caused by narrowing of the vessels. When a stroke occurs, bleeding in the brain initially occurs and since the blood that is escaping is missing elsewhere or areas of the brain can be squeezed together as a result, there is a circulatory disorder. The scientists published the results in the journal "The Lancet Global Health".

Situation in Germany Last year, experts from the Center for Stroke Research at the Berlin Charité published estimates that around 270,000 people suffer a stroke in Germany every year. Almost 70,000 patients do not survive the incident, according to the Federal Statistical Office. A stroke can be prevented in many cases. In this way, one can contain the danger by minimizing the risk factors. The main risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, being overweight, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity and previous illnesses such as diabetes. (ad)

Image: Martin Büdenbender /

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Video: Strokes Striking the Young

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