The number of deaths worldwide from ischemic stroke is expected to increase to nearly five million by 2030, according to a study.
The research, published in the journal Neurology, focused on ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain and is the most common type of stroke.
It found that the number of deaths worldwide from the disorder increased from two million in 1990 to more than three million in 2019.
"This increase in the global death toll of ischemic stroke along with a predicted further increase in the future is concerning, but ischemic stroke is highly preventable," said study author Lize Xiong, of Tongji University in Shanghai, China.
"Our results suggest that a combination of lifestyle factors like smoking and a diet high in sodium along with other factors such as high blood pressure and high body mass index can lead to an increased risk of stroke, Xiong said.
The researchers analysed data from the Global Health Data Exchange from 1990-2019. As the world population grew, the global number of ischemic stroke deaths increased from 2.04 million in 1990 to 3.29 million in 2019.
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However, the stroke rate decreased from 66 strokes per 100,000 people in 1990 to 44 strokes per 100,000 people in 2019, the researchers said.
This decrease in the stroke rate likely means that the overall increase in the number of strokes worldwide is mainly due to population growth and ageing, Xiong said.
Researchers found that seven major risk factors including smoking, a diet high in sodium, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney dysfunction, high blood sugar, and high BMI contributed to the higher number of strokes.
They then used the database to predict the number of deaths for 2020-2030. The study found that the death toll for ischemic stroke is expected to increase further to 4.9 million in 2030.
When researchers included the risk factors, they predicted that the overall number of deaths from stroke could reach 6.4 million if these risk factors are not controlled or prevented.
"This study provides an insightful perspective on the global burden of ischemic stroke," said editorial author Carlos Cantu-Brito, from the Salvador Zubirn National Institute of Health Sciences and Nutrition in Mexico.
"It points out many vital factors that should be used for informed policymaking, emphasising the need for policies and programmes to promote healthy lifestyle choices, including regular physical activity, low-salt diets, and smoking cessation," Cantu-Brito said.
A limitation of the study was that quality and accuracy of disease data from some countries cannot be guaranteed as many did not have reliable information on strokes, the researchers added.
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