Stroke, the second leading cause of death

Stroke, the second leading cause of death

According to the World Health Organisation, stroke is currently the second leading cause of death after ischemic heart disease and in 2010 alone, was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. The disease burden associated with stroke also appears to be on the rise with a steady annual increase in people affected since 1990.

Even though more than 80% of stroke burden occurs in low and middle-income countries reliable stroke epidemiology data is scarce in these settings. The absence of reliable data makes it difficult to calculate the real burden of the disease on health care resource in these countries with the majority of estimates coming from developed countries.

In South Africa it has been reported that stroke is responsible for an estimated 25,000 deaths annually and 95,000 years lived with disability but, based on the gaps in epidemiological data and rise in prevalence,  the real picture might be even worse.

As with most conditions stroke prevention is better than trying to manage the effects afterwards. Patients can decrease their chances of suffering from a stroke by controlling risk factors, treat medical conditions that can lead to stroke and by leading a heart healthy lifestyle.

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