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Stroke risk factors on the rise

While stroke-related deaths in the U.S. have declined over the past decade, new research is showing an alarming trend.

Posted: Oct. 14, 2017 8:15 AM
Updated: Oct. 14, 2017 8:15 AM


CLEVELAND CLINIC NEWS NETWORK - According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 800,000 Americans will suffer a stroke each year.

And while stroke-related deaths in the U.S. have declined over the past decade, new research is showing an alarming trend.

Andrew Russman, D.O., did not take part in the study, but said the research shows stroke risk factors are actually on the rise.

"Risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, drug abuse, have all become more common among stroke patients," said Dr. Russman.

The study looked at 922,451 people hospitalized for stroke between 2004 and 2014 and found that despite numerous guidelines and prevention initiatives, the incidence of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and drug abuse among these folks actually increased.

Dr. Russman said one of the major contributors to the increase of these risk factors is the rise of obesity in the U.S. He said increased obesity is typically associated with high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

And obesity has become more of a problem, not only among those who suffer a stroke, but among the general population.

Dr. Russman said despite the increased efforts by doctors to educate people about risk factors, this research shows that more needs to be done.

He added that it's important to remember that we can't do much about our risk factors unless we know about them.

"Following up with your primary medical doctor, getting annual physicals, and being screened for these medical problems is really an important part of preventing heart attack and stroke."

Dr. Russman said while this research focused on risk factors among people who have already suffered a stroke, it's ideal for everyone to know the risk factors for stroke to be able to prevent one from happening in the first place.

Complete results of the study can be found in the journal Neurology.

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