Scots 'have first stroke earlier'

Claims that stroke rate is falling in Scotland are untrue, with figures masking a rise in first-time hospitalisation for strokes among the under-55s.

Recent population-based studies have suggested that the rate of first hospitalisation for stroke has fallen in Scotland since the 1990s.

However, analysis of data from the Scottish Linked Morbidity Record Database by researchers at the University of Glasgow shows this may be because people are having their first stroke earlier.

Between 1986 and 2005, 162,484 patients were discharged from hospital after stroke. Although the mean age at admission was just under 70 years for men and 74 years for women across the study period, closer analysis provided a different picture.

Over the study period the risk of a man under 55 being admitted to hospital for stroke increased by 43 per cent, for women, the risk increased by 36 per cent.

Among the older age groups, the risk of being hospitalised for the first time for stroke has fallen, with rates among men aged 65 to 74 found to be 22 per cent lower between 986 and 2005. Similarly stroke fell by 21 per cent for women.

This trend is probably because of better recognition of stroke in young adults, say the researchers.

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