Reuters: People in Iran appear to suffer strokes more often and at younger ages than those in many Western countries, according to a new report. NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People in Iran appear to suffer strokes more often and at younger ages than those in many Western countries, according to a new report.
In a study that followed more than 450,000 Iranian adults, researchers found that 624 suffered a first-ever stroke over one year. When the researchers adjusted the figures to compare against a number of Western countries, they found that Iranians' stroke rate was substantially higher.
The overall rate among Iranian men and women aged 45 to 84 was 743 strokes per 100,000 persons. That compared with rates ranging between 200 and 400 per 100,000 in most of the other countries assessed in the study — including the UK, Italy, Greece, Australia and Sweden.
Only the Ukraine had a higher rate of stroke than Iran, the researchers report in the journal Stroke.
What's more, they write, although the elderly had by far the highest rates of stroke across nations, Iranians showed a higher risk than Westerners starting between the ages of 45 and 54.
Essentially, Iranians were suffering strokes a decade earlier than their counterparts in Western countries, write the researchers, led by Dr. Mahmoud Reza Azarpazhooh, of Ghaem Hospital in Mashhad, Iran.
Before now, little had been known about rates of stroke in the Middle East. The reasons for the high rate among Iranians, including relatively young people, are not yet clear, according to Azarpazhooh and colleagues.
They speculate, however, that poor control of stroke risk factors is one reason. In support of this, they found that nearly half of Iranian stroke sufferers with high blood pressure reported "poor compliance" with their treatment. The same was true of 61 percent of those with high cholesterol and 36 percent of those with diabetes.
More research is needed to understand the various factors that may be feeding the problem, according to Azarpazhooh's team. But the current findings show that many Iranians need help in reducing their risk of stroke – now.
"We require prompt, preventive action on the part of health authorities to address this high incidence of stroke, particularly in the young," the researchers conclude.
SOURCE: Stroke, January 2010.