Stroke rates are falling, according to a major new study.

The incidence of strokes in a large area of south London fell by 39.5% between 1995 and 2010, from 247 per 100,000 population to 149.5.

Stroke rates fall

The incidence of strokes in a large area of the south of the capital fell by 39.5% between 1995 and 2010, from 247 per 100,000 population to 149.5.

Rates fell in men,women, white groups and those aged more than 45 - but not in those aged 15 to 44, or black groups.

Researchers from King's College, investigated data in the South London Stroke Register, covering more than 350,000 people.

Between January 1995 and December 2010, 4,245 patients with first-ever stroke were registered.

The average age of onset of stroke decreased from 71.7 years to 69.6.

There were significant increases in the proportion of 15-44-year-olds.

The proportion of black patients also increased during the study period.

The researchers, whose findings are published in the medical journal Stroke, say the ethnic disparities may be because of different heart risk factors.

Dramatic fall in stroke rate in South London

The number of people having strokes in South London fell by more than a third in fifteen years, according to a new study.

Researchers from Kings College London found that stroke rates in the area dropped by 39.5% between 1995 and 2010.

They say it may be down to an increase in healthy living - or the use of drugs to lower cholesterol.

Dr Madina Kara, researcher at the Stroke Association, welcomed the findings.

She said:

It's encouraging to see such a striking reduction in the number of people having a stroke in the past 16 years. Public health campaigns around the risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure and smoking are helping people to take control of their health and reduce their risk of stroke. This reduction, however, is not being mirrored in those under 45 years old, and the black population, where the incidence of stroke remains high.

We know that the African-Caribbean community are at greater risk of sickle cell disease, diabetes and high blood pressure - conditions that can lead to stroke. This means they are twice as likely to have a stroke compared to the white population. In addition, haemorrhagic stroke, caused by bleeding within or around the brain, is more common in younger adults.

Stroke changes lives in an instant and can have a devastating physical and emotional impact on not only the stroke survivor, but their family and carers as well. To help reduce stroke across the whole population, we all need to take steps to reduce our risk.

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