Scottish stroke data masks growing risk in under-55s

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, say researchers.

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

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 older age groups, the risk of being hospitalised for the first time for stroke has fallen, with rates among men aged 65-74 found to be 22 per cent lower between 1986 and 2005. Similarly it fell by 21 per cent for women.

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

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

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