Study Shows Lower Income Countries Have Higher Rate Of Stroke Deaths

By Special to the Daily World
DALLAS, (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Countries with lower national income have disproportionately higher rates of death and disability associated with stroke compared with ischemic heart disease, according to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Together, ischemic heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death worldwide. Ischemic heart disease accounts for 12.2 percent of all deaths and stroke for 9.7 percent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Program.

But the relative rates of death and disability from heart disease and stroke vary considerably from country to country.

For example, “In the United States, heart disease is still the No. 1 cause of death, but stroke recently went from No. 3 to No. 4 (according to CDC data),” said Anthony S. Kim, M.D., co-author of the study and assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. “Whereas, in China, WHO data shows the situation is nearly reversed — they are facing an epidemic of cerebrovascular disease, and stroke is the leading cause of death.”

From WHO data on death rates and disease burden, Kim and co-author S. Claiborne Johnston, M.D., Ph.D., found that stroke death rates exceeded heart disease death rates in 74 of 192 countries (nearly 40 percent).

In 62 countries (nearly one-third), the burden of disease from stroke — measured in disability adjusted life year (DALY) loss rates – also surpassed that of heart disease.

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