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Stroke Health Center

U.S. Stroke Risk Drops

But Stroke Severity Stays Same Since the 1970s
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Dec. 26, 2006 – Americans have a lower risk of stroke than they did in previous decades -- but when strokes come, they are just as bad as ever.

The findings come from the famous Framingham Study, which has looked at Americans' heart attack and stroke risks since the 1940s. The current report looks at the risk of stroke across the time periods 1950-1977, 1978-1989, and 1990-2004.

Lifetime risk of stroke after age 65 dropped from 19.5% to 14.5% in men, and from 18% to 16.1% in women.

However, age-adjusted stroke severity didn't change over time. And though the risk of death within 30 days of a stroke declined from 23% to 14% for men, it did not change for women (still about 20%).

Boston University researcher Raphael Carandang, MD, and colleagues report the findings in the Dec. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

"These sobering trends emphasize that while improved control of risk factors has lowered incidence of stroke, there is a need for greater primary prevention efforts to reduce the lifetime risk, severity, and 30-day mortality following stroke," Carandang and colleagues conclude

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