Strokes Lessen Among American Senior Citizens: Study

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By Smitha Nambiar | July 25, 2014 6:06 PM EST

American senior citizens are found to be suffering lesser strokes and heart attacks, irrespective of their sex or race, reveals a study conducted by Dr Josef Coresh from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Reuters
Scientists carry out biological pacemaker research at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, California, in this undated handout photo courtesy of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. Researchers have succeeded in turning ordinary cardiac muscle cells into specialized ones that deliver a steady heartbeat using a gene therapy procedure they predict could become an alternative to implanted electronic pacemakers, according to a study published on July 16, 2014.

According to Coresh, a professor of epidemiology, senior citizens in the U.S. are suffering from fewer strokes and the rate of senior citizens suffering from stroke is on the decline. "We found that stroke incidence (among those 65 and older) has been declining for the last 20 years," said Coresh. He further added, "Our study found that the decrease is happening in whites and blacks, which is very important because blacks are at an elevated risk of stroke."

The reduction in stroke is due to improved health care facilities and treatment of risk factors for stroke. Besides, researchers also found that during the course of the research, the senior citizen group began using cholesterol-lowering drugs and blood pressure medications. The number of smokers also considerably reduced among senior citizens during the course of the study.

However, there has been no decline in people below 65 years of age suffering from stroke, though most of them have found to survive from the stroke. Dr Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine, found the results very disturbing. "The more concerning news is the lack of decline in stroke rates among those under 65. When you look at that statistic in relationship to recent warnings that diabetes, obesity and lack of physical activity are still major problems that have not been reduced in the last decade, this raises some red flags," opined Sacco.

Expressing concern over the unequal rate of strokes or heart attacks on elderly and younger people, study author Silvia Koton, a visiting faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and incoming nursing department chair at Tel Aviv University, said, "Since rates are not equally falling across the board, physicians and policymakers need to pay closer attention to specific subgroups. These data are also helpful in monitoring the results of how we care for people of all ages, hopefully helping them even before they have a stroke."

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(Photo: Reuters / Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute)
Scientists carry out biological pacemaker research at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, California, in this undated handout photo courtesy of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. Researchers have succeeded in turning ordinary cardiac muscle cells into specialized ones that deliver a steady heartbeat using a gene therapy procedure they predict could become an alternative to implanted electronic pacemakers, according to a study published on July 16, 2014.
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