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Learning the risks for stroke -- and taking action
Date:10/23/2009

The theme of this year's World Stroke Day on 29th October is "What can I do?". As the World Stroke Organization says, everyone can do something: learn to recognise symptoms and take action, learn to recognise the risk factors and take action.

With this theme in mind, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) emphasises that most of the risks for stroke are also the major risks for coronary heart disease - and thus the object of the ESC's far-reaching prevention programme. Unhealthy diets, smoking, and physical inactivity are all unequivocally identified as fuel for a growing epidemic of hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, all associated with a raised risk of both heart disease and stroke. Atrial fibrillation, the most common disorder of heart rhythm, has also been clearly associated with an increased risk of stroke.

Professor Lars Rydn, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and speaking on behalf of the ESC, says: "Stroke is not an inevitable consequence of ageing, so by identifying and modifying risk factors there are opportunities to reduce the incidence and mortality rate of this devastating condition. For example, there is much more to be done in lowering blood pressure, particularly in elderly people with high systolic measurements, and in ensuring that those at risk of thromboembolic stroke as a result of atrial fibrillation receive effective prophylactic therapy."

According to the World Stroke Organization, stroke now accounts for almost 6 million deaths each year and ranks second only to heart disease as the world's leading cause of death.(1) However, if basic preventive measures are not taken, the number of people predicted to die from stroke will rise by another million over the next six years.

Six million deaths could be averted in the next ten years if what is already known is applied, said the World Stroke Organization in its inaugural proclamation in 2006.

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Contact: ESC Press Office
press@escardio.org
33-049-294-8627
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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