Haemorrhagic strokes on the rise

The number of people suffering haemorrhagic strokes has jumped nearly 20% in the last decade, probably because of an ageing population, researchers said on Friday.

The findings published in the journal Lancet also suggest that while more men and women are suffering these types of strokes, the death rate has not worsened over the past 10 years due in part to advances in care.

"Intracerebral haemorrhage is an important public health problem leading to high rates of death and disability in adults," Adnan Qureshi of the University of Minnesota in the United States and colleagues wrote.

"Development of treatment goals for critical care, and new sequences of care and specialty practice can improve outcome after intracerebral haemorrhage."

Leading cause of death
Strokes, which occur when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, can kill brain tissue and are one of the world's leading causes of death and permanent disability. Most strokes are ischaemic strokes, caused by a blockage.

Intracerebral haemorrhage - which account for about two million of the 15 million strokes worldwide each year - are caused by a rupture of blood vessels in the brain. The major risk factor for this is high blood pressure that weakens the walls of blood vessels, which then may split under the pressure.

18% increase in past decade
In their review of published studies and data from clinical trials, the researchers determined that hospital admissions for haemorrhagic stroke increased 18% in the past decade.

A growing number of elderly people and the increasing use of blood-clotting drugs that can lead to uncontrolled bleeding help explain the rise, the researchers said. Early diagnosis, aggressive management of blood pressure and further study of techniques to remove blood clots can help reduce the number of people who die from stroke even further, the researchers added.

"These approaches improve clinical management of patients with intracerebral haemorrhage, and promise to reduce mortality and increase functional survival," the researchers wrote. – (Reuters Health, May 2009)

Read more:
Myths and interesting facts about stroke
Risk factors for stroke

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