Stroke findings unveiled at Letterkenny briefing

The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has published new research which suggests that by 2020 the number of adults in the Republic of Ireland who had a stroke in the last twelve months that had been diagnosed by a doctor (a “clinically diagnosed stroke”) is expected to increase by 6,000 people to almost 29,000.

The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has published new research which suggests that by 2020 the number of adults in the Republic of Ireland who had a stroke in the last twelve months that had been diagnosed by a doctor (a “clinically diagnosed stroke”) is expected to increase by 6,000 people to almost 29,000.

This finding was revealed at the publication of a stroke briefing in St Conal’s Hospital, Letterkenny.

The research was conducted by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) in collaboration with the HRB Centre for Diet and Health Research at University College Cork and the Centre of Excellence for Public Health Northern Ireland at Queen’s University Belfast.

It is based on an analysis of the latest national health survey SLÁN that was conducted in 2007.

IPH Associate Director, Prof Kevin Balanda, said that while the actual numbers of people who have had a stroke diagnosed by a doctor is expected to rise, the proportion of the adult population will change only slightly from 0.7% in 2010 to 0.8% in 2020.

Prof Balanda explained that the stroke briefing also contained rates of clinically diagnosed stroke for 32 Local Health Offices in the Republic.

Age, family history, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and alcohol misuse are the main risk factors for stroke.

Consultant in Geriatric Medicine at Letterkenny General Hospital, Dr Ken Mulpeter, outlined the importance of addressing the known risk factors for stroke especially in an ageing population and highlighted the value of early presentation to stroke services of those patients unfortunate to suffer either a TIA or suspected stroke.

“A greater focus on prevention to reduce these risk factors and promote healthier lifestyles will help moderate these increases.

“Prevention programmes should also address social, environmental and other issues that influence the development of stroke and its risk factors.”

Concluding, Prof Balanda explained that the stroke briefing, the latest in a series dealing with diabetes, coronary heart disease, musculoskeletal conditions and other chronic conditions, was developed because “estimates and forecasts of the prevalence of major chronic conditions are essential for the development of healthy and equitable communities.”

He noted that the research was limited by lack of comprehensive and accurate data about risk factors at the local level.