The number of stroke deaths around the world is set to increase by 50% to nearly 10 million by 2050, according to a new wide-ranging report from the World Stroke Organization-Lancet Neurology Commission, with most cases occurring in low-and middle-income countries.
The study mentions that the number of people who suffer, remain disabled or die from the condition globally has almost doubled over the past 30 years, with the majority of those affected in low-and middle-income countries, where the occurrence of the condition is increasing at a faster rate than in high-income countries, they said.
By 2050, it is estimated that the contribution of stroke deaths in low-and middle-income countries will see an increase from 86% to 91%.
The report also highlights that if these trends continue, one of the World Health Organization’s key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be met.
Premature deaths due to stroke
SDG 3.4 has the target to reduce the 41 million premature deaths because of non-communicable diseases including stroke by one-third by 2030. While achieving these would require USD 140 billion in new spending between 2023 and 2030, it could help to avert 39 million deaths and generate $2·7 trillion in net economic benefits (with benefits outweighing costs by a factor of 19:1), mentions the study.
The authors pointed out different areas for countries and policymakers to focus on. This included surveillance of strokes and associated risk factors, prevention of strokes both for those who have never experienced them and for people who have timely treatment of strokes at the acute stage, and rehabilitation for people who have suffered from strokes.
Dealing with stroke
On the other hand, the major factors that were identified as barriers in dealing with the prevalence of stroke were the low awareness of stroke and its risk factors (which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, obesity, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and smoking), and limited surveillance data on the risk factors of stroke, events, management, and outcomes of stroke.
The findings identified hypertension to be the main risk factor for stroke, especially for intracerebral haemorrhage and thus the projections support a call for improving the prevention and treatment of hypertension.
Major things that could help in dealing with the prevalence of strokes were well-developed stroke organisations and networks that can build capacity for stroke-related research and care, and universal healthcare providing population-wide access to evidence-based stroke care.