Heart and stroke report has good, bad news

A new study from the Heart and Stroke Foundation shows the rate of strokes for people in their 50s has increased 24 per cent in the last decade.

A new study from the Heart and Stroke Foundation shows the rate of strokes for people in their 50s has increased 24 per cent in the last decade.

According to Together Against A Rising Tide: Advancing Stroke Systems Of Care, there was also a 13 per cent increase in strokes for those in their 60s.

Results from the Canadian study came out last week after recent international studies predicted that stroke rates among those age 24 to 64 will double in the next 15 years.

Donna Hastings, CEO with the Heart and Stroke Foundation for Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, said high blood pressure plays a major role in the increasing rate of strokes.

“There’s more uncontrolled hypertension believed to be attributed to our fast-paced, stressful lifestyle, unidentified and untreated hypertension, and we also have the increase in diabetes in the population, which is also a co-factor. Coronary disease will complicate the stroke factor as well,” Hastings said.

She said the Canadian report is a mix of good news and bad news.

“Good news in that stroke care has improved and death rates from strokes are on decline. But the bad news is our research is showing the gains we’ve seen are going to be challenged by younger and younger people having strokes.”

In Alberta, there are 4,500 strokes a year and 2,770 mini-strokes.

“That means there’s 20 strokes and mini-strokes a day in the province of Alberta.”

The Heart and Stroke Foundation and Alberta Health Services are working on stroke prevention, treatment and recovery.

She said in recent years, the number of stroke prevention clinics in Alberta has increased from three to 12 and the number of primary stroke centres, where clot-busting drugs can be administered, has climbed from three to 15.

Both a clinic and a centre are located at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Doctors at Red Deer hospital can also communicate with specialists in Calgary and Edmonton through Telestroke, with videoconferencing and CT image sharing technology capabilities, to help diagnose and determine a care plan.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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