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Cost of Treating Strokes in U.S. Could Soar to $180B Annually by 2030: Report
Date:5/22/2013

ent among Hispanics and blacks than whites.

The costs associated with caring for people are often high because an attack can lead to long-term disability, Ovbiagele said. "Ninety percent of stroke patients have residual disability and only 10 percent recover completely after a stroke," he said. "Policy makers at all levels of governance should be aware of this looming crisis so we can consider practical ways to avert it."

According to the AHA, stroke remains the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and one of the most significant causes of preventable disability.

Recognizing a stroke when it happens and getting the patient to medical help quickly are imperative. "During every minute of delayed treatment, brain cells are dying," Ovbiagele said. "[Emergency workers] should take patients directly to a designated stroke center equipped to quickly diagnose and administer drugs to restore blood flow to the brain."

Dr. Richard Libman, vice chairman of neurology at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute in Manhasset, N.Y., called the AHA report "realistic and sobering."

"It emphasizes the importance of stroke prevention -- that is, paying attention to the frequent risk factors plaguing our country, including high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes and lack of exercise," he said. "It also reminds us that even if we cannot prevent all strokes, continued investment in research to find new treatments and rehabilitation strategies can prevent suffering on the human level and also save billions of dollars in health care costs."

According to the AHA, the Affordable Care Act is expected to expand health care coverage to an additional 32 million Americans. The legislation also is shifting the focus to prevention and wellness. The researchers believe health-care reform should help reduce the number of strokes and deaths as well as stroke-related costs.

Truhim agreed. "It is quite possible that health-care expenditures
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Cost of Treating Strokes in U.S. Could Soar to $180B Annually by 2030: Report
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