Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Million Hearts Colorado: Stroke Rates Declining For Seniors, Not For Young

HealthDay news imageSeniors in America are suffering fewer strokes, regardless of their race or sex, a new long-term study reveals. Stroke rates likely are declining in older people due to improved treatment of risk factors for stroke.

For example, use of cholesterol-lowering medications increased from just under 4 percent to nearly 13 percent over time in these patients, with an accompanying decline in "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. At the same time, use of blood pressure medications increased from about 29 percent to 43 percent in that same period, an increase seen predominantly among people older than 65.
The number of current smokers also declined during the course of the study, the researchers noted.
"Our study found that the decrease is happening in whites and blacks, which is very important because blacks are at an elevated risk of stroke."

However, people younger than 65 continued to suffer strokes at about the same rate, although the researchers found that more of these younger patients survived their stroke.


"The more concerning news is the lack of decline [in stroke rates] among those under 65," said Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "When you look at that statistic in relationship to recent warnings that diabetes, obesity and lack of physical activity are still major problems that have not been reduced in the last decade, this raises some red flags."

"It's turning out that obesity has many adverse consequences through cardiovascular risk factors we understand," he said. "We can treat blood pressure, and if we treat it early enough and aggressive enough we can lower the risk of stroke, and thereby blunt the risks of obesity."


As for the reduced death rate among younger stroke victims, "that may mean our ability to treat and improve survival after stroke is better in younger people," Sacco said.

Stroke ranks fourth among all causes of death in the United States, with about 800,000 Americans experiencing a stroke each year, according to background information that accompanied the study.

The findings are published in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Read the article here.

High blood pressure management is a key strategy of the  Million Hearts Initiative, an effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  Colorado participates in this initiative and you can too. Be one in a million - make your commitment and pledge today.

No comments:

Post a Comment