American adults have a higher prevalence of stroke than their European counterparts, due in part to a higher rate of stroke risk factors among Americans and barriers to care in the United States, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Associations International Stroke Conference 2008.
Compared to European men, U.S. men had 61 percent higher odds of having a stroke and U.S. women had almost twice the odds of stroke as European women.
Most of this gap is among relatively poor Americans who were, in our data, much more likely to have a stroke than poor Europeans, whereas the gap in stroke prevalence is less marked between rich Americans and rich Europeans, said Mauricio Avendano, Ph.D., author of the study.
The study is based on 2004 data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Survey (HRS); the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE); and the English Longitudinal study of Aging (ELSA). These surveys include biennial interviews among people age 50 years and older.
The strength of these surveys is that the questionnaires were explicitly designed to be fully comparable across all countries, and the samples were drawn to be representative of the entire population in each country, said Avendano. a research fellow in public health at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The limitation is that were dealing with self-reports of a doctors diagnosis of stroke, not the diagnostic data itself.
Researchers studied data on 13,667 people in the United States and 30,120 individuals in 11 European countries. The analysis included stroke occurrence, socioeconomic status, and major risk factors for stroke including obesity, diabetes, smoking, physical activity and alcohol consumption, which can differ largely across countries.
Overall, women were about one-quarter less likely to have a stroke, on average, than men.
Many risk factors for stroke, including blood pressure and smoking
|Contact: Bridgette McNeill|
American Heart Association