US stroke deaths declining due to improved prevention, treatment

December 5, 2013

Stroke deaths in the United States have declined dramatically in recent decades due to improved treatment and prevention, according to a scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

The American Stroke Association commissioned this paper to discuss the reasons that dropped from the third to fourth leading cause of death.

"The decline in stroke deaths is one of the greatest achievements of the 20th and 21st centuries," said Daniel T. Lackland, Dr. P.H., chair of the statement writing committee and professor of epidemiology at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, S.C. "The decline is real, not a statistical fluke or the result of more people dying of lung disease, the third leading cause of death."

Public health efforts including lowering and hypertension control that started in the 1970s have contributed greatly to the change, Lackland said.

Smoking cessation programs, improved control of diabetes and abnormal cholesterol levels, and better, faster have also prevented strokes. Improvement in acute stroke care and treatment is associated with lower death rates.

"We can't attribute these positive changes to any one or two specific actions or factors as many different prevention and treatment strategies had a positive impact," Lackland said. "Policymakers now have evidence that the money spent on stroke research and programs aimed at and treatment have been spent wisely and lives have been saved.

"For the public, the effort you put into lowering your blood pressure, stopping smoking, controlling your cholesterol and diabetes, exercising and eating less salt has paid off with a lower risk of stroke." Stroke deaths dropped in men and women of all racial/ethnic groups and ages, he said.

"Although all groups showed improvement, there are still great racial and geographic disparities with stroke risks as well many people having strokes at young ages," Lackland said. "We need to keep doing what works and to better target these programs to groups at higher risk."

Explore further: Stroke systems of care essential to reducing deaths, disabilities

Related Stories

Stroke mortality is down, but the reason remains a mystery

November 22, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—A national group of leading scientists, including one University of Alabama at Birmingham expert, says that for more than 100 years fewer people have been dying of stroke, yet it is still unclear why this ...

Recommended for you

Artificial heart design features porous plastic foam

October 2, 2015

Artificial hearts with multiple moving parts increase the chance of failure; scientists have worked up a device which is a single piece. No less interesting is the material they used; the team is taking a page out of soft ...

What powers the pumping heart?

September 25, 2015

Researchers at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have uncovered a treasure trove of proteins, which hold answers about how our heart pumps—a phenomenon known as contractility.

Sticky gel helps stem cells heal rat hearts

September 24, 2015

A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins researchers appears to help stem cells stay on or in rat hearts and restore their metabolism after transplantation, improving cardiac function after simulated heart attacks, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.