Almost 17million people across the world have a stroke each year - up 68% since 1990. That's a staggering one stroke every two seconds. The new findings from the largest-ever study on global stroke incidence and mortality published last week in the Lancet. More people, on average, are having a stroke three to five years younger than they did 20 years ago. The number of working age people having a stroke (aged 20-64) is up by a quarter. And, perhaps most worryingly of all, the global burden of stroke (disability, illness and premature death) is expected to more than double by 2030.
Here are the facts: stroke is a preventable, treatable disease. Despite this, one in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime, and someone dies every six seconds from a stroke. 15 million people have a stroke every year, and sadly, 6 million of those don't survive. Facts like this are the basis for the World Stroke Day's '1 in 6' campaign.
Death from heart disease has been decreasing since the 1960s and it's come down largely because of decreased smoking, good medicines for blood pressure, and more recently cholesterol. But if you look at the youngest age groups, it's plateauing and beginning to go up in the mid-30s and mid-40s age groups.
In all the coverage following Margaret Thatcher's death, very few headlines have been made by the fact that she had dementia. Many refer to her 'failing health' and 'deterioration', and report the stroke that caused her passing, but it seems that mentioning the word dementia when you are talking about a former prime minister is rather taboo.