Strokes Increase in Third World

Hemorrhagic and early onset stroke patients found in poorer countries

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A country's wealth may have a lot to do with the likelihood that a person will have a stroke, and their chances of survival. Poor countries that spend less on healthcare have a higher rate of strokes and stroke deaths.

Countries with fewer financial resources, measured through lower gross domestic product, also showed a 43 percent increase in hemorrhagic stroke, and a 47 percent increase in early onset stroke in young people.

"Eat healthy and exercise regularly to prevent strokes."

Dr. Luciano A. Sposato, study lead author and director of the neurology department at the Vascular Research Institute at INECO Foundation in Argentina, said it is not only the economic wellness of a country that is important, but also the proportion of gross domestic product that is spent on health.

He said this is important for developing healthcare strategies to prevent stroke and other heart disease.

Researchers analyzed 30 population-based studies in 22 countries conducted between 1998 and 2008. They employed statistical techniques to associate stroke risk, stroke incidence, 30-day mortality rate, hemorrhagic stroke and age at time of the disease with health expenditure per capita, unemployment rate and gross domestic product.

Unemployment wasn't found to be linked to stroke or the outcome of stroke.

Investigators found that countries with a lower gross domestic product had a 32 percent higher risk of strokes and patients were 43 percent more likely to die within 30 days of a stroke.

Less health care spending was linked to a 26 percent higher risk of stroke, and a 45 percent increased risk of death 30 days after a stroke. Residents of those countries were also 32 percent more likely to suffer a hemorrhagic stroke, and had a 36 percent higher risk of younger-onset stroke.

“It is important to further discuss the health priorities for different countries,” said Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, study co-author and director of stroke outcomes research at St. Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto. “This will provide the necessary background to help countries make the changes in how different resources and money are allocated.”

The research was published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Review Date: 
October 27, 2011
Last Updated:
October 27, 2011