Stroke rates declining slightly, especially for men

Created date

November 8th, 2017
diagram of brain with red area showing stroke location

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer people in the U.S. are having strokes such that it is the fifth leading cause of death for men, yet it is still the fourth leading cause of death for women. A new study published in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, appears to reflect that trend. 

Researchers examined data on 1.3 million adults living in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky between 1993 and 2010. They found that 7,710 adults had a stroke for the first time. 

Change in trends?

A breakdown of the data showed that men had 263 strokes per 100,000 at the beginning of the study and 192 per 100,000 at the end of the study. Women had 217 strokes per 100,000 and 198 per 100,000 at the end. From a statistical standpoint, these differences are not considered significant, but nevertheless they may indicate a change in trends. 

Historically, women have had lower rates of stroke, so these results may indicate that men are coming closer to women’s rates. The researchers do not know why the women’s rates did not decrease over the study period. They say it might be because risk factors for stroke are not as well controlled as men’s. In addition, the percentage of women who were able to live independently decreased when compared to men during the study period.

The researchers say more study is needed on these trends and on risk factors for both men and women.