Fewer people are being hospitalized for strokes — except among young adults and African-Americans, according to new observational research in the open access Journal of the American Heart Association.
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In 2000-10, the number of adults admitted to U.S. hospitals with ischemic stroke fell 18.4 percent, according to researchers who analyzed a national database on about 8 million hospital stays each year.
Ischemic strokes, which are caused by artery blockages, are the most common type of stroke.
“We can’t say from this study design what factors have led to this decline, but it may be that preventive efforts, such as better blood pressure and blood sugar control, are having the effect that we want in this (65 and older) age group,” said Lucas Ramirez, M.D., neurology resident at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Other findings for 2000-10:
- Hospitalization rates fell 28 percent in people 65-84 years old and 22.1 percent in those 85 and older.
- The rate increased in younger adults — up 43.8 percent in people 25-44 and up 4.7 percent in those 45-64.
- Women, who have lower age-adjusted rates of stroke hospitalization, experienced a steeper decline during the decade (down 22.1 percent) than men (down 17.8 percent).
- Age-adjusted hospitalizations for ischemic stroke declined 12.4 percent in whites and 21.7 percent in Hispanics, but increased 13.7 percent in African-Americans.
“African-Americans already had the highest rate of stroke hospitalizations and it has unfortunately increased,” Ramirez said. “This reinforces that we need to make sure that our efforts for stroke prevention and education reach all groups.”