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Stroke death rates inequality

12th August 2009

An audit of stroke death figures has shown that they are three times higher in some of the poorer areas of the UK.

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The study by the British Heart Foundation and the Stroke Association, which focussed on England Wales, highlighted the fact that there were 29 deaths per 100,000 men aged under 65 each year in the poorest areas compared with just eight in the wealthiest.

For women, there were 17 deaths per 100,000 in the most deprived areas and six in the least.

The two charities, which used death rates by local authority area, compared the least deprived 5% with the most deprived and although reasons for the different death rates remained unclear, lifestyle and access to services were thought to be factors.

Stroke is the third biggest killer in the UK after cancer and heart disease and claims 50,000 lives a year.

BHF medical director Professor Peter Weissberg said: "The figures argue for a concerted effort to identify and modify risk factors by lifestyle and drug interventions in those communities with the highest risks.

"We don't underestimate the challenge this poses, but success will save the lives of thousands of people and prevent disability in many more."

The Stroke Association said the statistics were shocking.

Spokesman Joe Korner said: "Decreasing inequalities in our society will also lessen inequalities in health outcomes."

A national stroke strategy was launched in England in 2007 and the Department of Health said that in the last decade great progress had been made in stroke care.

 

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