Stroke risk greater in poorer countries

Oct. 28, 2011 at 7:28 PM

TORONTO, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- People living in poor countries are at increased risk of stroke, dying of stroke or suffering a stroke at a younger age, researchers in Canada say.

Senior author Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, said people living in poorer countries or in countries that spend proportionately less on healthcare are about 30 percent more likely than others to have a stroke.

The correlation likely is a result of insufficient investment in resources for prevention and management of stroke risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes, Saposnik said.

"If you can reduce the risk factors, you reduce the risk of stroke," Saposnik said in a statement.

The study linked stroke risk, 30-day death rate from stroke, hemorrhagic stroke incidence, the more serious type of stroke, and age at disease onset to three economic indicators -- gross domestic product, money spent on health per capita and the unemployment rate.

However, unlike the other two indicators, the unemployment rate did not affect any of the other stroke outcomes, Saposnik said.

The findings were published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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