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More Risk Factors, Less Access to Care Behind Higher Stroke Rates in U.S.
Date:2/23/2008

ruits and fish, and lower in fats, which partly explains why heart disease is so much lower in these populations than in northern Europe and the United States," Avendano said.

The team also found that higher stroke prevalence was associated with lower socioeconomic status as measured by wealth, income and education. This link was stronger in the United States than in most European countries.

"Beyond the contribution of specific risk factors, policies that differ dramatically between Europe and the United States may play a role," Avendano said.

Europe offers universal health care and some European health systems emphasize "tackling stroke risk factors, as opposed to the U.S. health-care system, which focuses more on treatment and may actually be more successful in keeping stroke cases alive."

In addition, differences in transportation and nutrition policies may make Americans less likely than Europeans to exercise or eat a healthy diet.

"Risk factors alone do not account for the differences we found, which points to the role of broader health care and structural policies," Avendano said.

The study was presented Friday at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference, in New Orleans.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about stroke.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Feb. 22, 2008


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