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Friday, November 1, 2013

Strokes killing younger people as unhealthy habits expansion

Strokes are increasingly killing younger people, particularly in the developing countries where unhealthy lifestyle habits have taken hold, accordingly a study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

While strokes are generally thought to afflict older people, the number of people ages 20 to 64 who experience them has risen by 25 percent in the past two decades, according to the researchers from countries including the Britain, United States and Japan.

This younger group now makes up 31 percent of total strokes, likened with 25 percent before 1990, the study found.

Strokes are claiming more lives and leading to more illness in low-to-middle-income countries, the researchers wrote in The Lancet medical journal. As income levels in these countries increase, fewer people die of infectious diseases related to poverty, they said. However, the chance of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease rises, they said.

"While people tend to live longer as the risk of infectious diseases decreases, they are abruptly exposed to these unhealthy lifestyles in which they consume too much salt, don't exercise, and repeatedly smoke," said Myles Connor, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and a co-author of the study.

In high-income nations, simplifications in the incidence of stroke and premature death rates over the last 20 years "possibly reflect improved education, prevention and care, and diagnosis," the researchers said. That suggests that education can successfully lower stroke rates.

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