Recent evidence suggests that stroke is increasing as a cause of morbidity and mortality in younger adults, where it carries particular significance for working individuals. Accurate and up-to-date estimates of stroke burden are important for planning stroke prevention and management in younger adults.


This study aims to estimate prevalence, mortality, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and their trends for total, ischemic stroke (IS), and hemorrhagic stroke (HS) in the world for 1990–2013 in adults aged 20–64 years.


Stroke prevalence, mortality and DALYs were estimated using the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2013 methods. All available data on rates of stroke incidence, excess mortality, prevalence, and death were collected. Statistical models were used along with country-level covariates to estimate country-specific stroke burden. Stroke-specific disability weights were used to compute years lived with disability and DALYs. Means and 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs) were calculated for prevalence, mortality, and DALYs. The median of the percent change and 95% UI were determined for the period from 1990 to 2013.


In 2013, in younger adults aged 20-64 years, the global prevalence of HS was 3,725,085 cases (95% UI 3,548,098–3,871,018) and IS was 7,258,216 cases (95% UI 6,996,272–7,569,403). Globally, between 1990 and 2013, there were significant increases in absolute numbers and prevalence rates of both HS and IS for younger adults. There were 1,483,707 (95% UI 1,340,579–1,658,929) stroke deaths globally among younger adults but the number of deaths from HS (1,047,735 (95% UI 945,087–1,184,192)) was significantly higher than the number of deaths from IS (435,972 (95% UI 354,018–504,656)). There was a 20.1% (95% UI -23.6 to -10.3) decline in the number of total stroke deaths among younger adults in developed countries but a 36.7% (95% UI 26.3–48.5) increase in developing countries. Death rates for all strokes among younger adults declined significantly in developing countries from 47 (95% UI 42.6–51.7) in 1990 to 39 (95% UI 35.0–43.8) in 2013. Death rates for all strokes among younger adults also declined significantly in developed countries from 33.3 (95% UI 29.8–37.0) in 1990 to 23.5 (95% UI 21.1–26.9) in 2013. A significant decrease in HS death rates for younger adults was seen only in developed countries between 1990 and 2013 (19.8 (95% UI 16.9–22.6) and 13.7 (95% UI 12.1-15.9)) per 100,000). No significant change was detected in IS death rates among younger adults. The total DALYs from all strokes in those aged 20–64 years was 51,429,440 (95% UI 46,561,382-57,320,085). Globally, there was a 24.4% (95% UI 16.6-33.8) increase in total DALY numbers for this age group, with a 20% (95% UI 11.7–31.1) and 37.3% (95% UI 23.4–52.2) increase in HS and IS numbers, respectively.


Between 1990 and 2013, there were significant increases in prevalent cases, total deaths, and DALYs due to HS and IS in younger adults aged 20–64 years. Death and DALY rates declined in both developed and developing countries, but a significant increase in absolute numbers of stroke deaths among younger adults was detected in developing countries. Most of the burden of stroke was in developing countries. In 2013, the greatest burden of stroke among younger adults was due to HS. While the trends in declining death and DALY rates in developing countries are encouraging, these regions still fall far behind those of developed regions of the world. A more aggressive approach toward primary prevention and increased access to adequate healthcare services for stroke is required to substantially narrow these disparities.


Krishnamurthi RV, Moran AE, Feigin VL, Barker-Collo S, Norrving B, Mensah GA, Taylor S, Naghavi M, Forouzanfar MH, Nguyen G, Johnson CO, Vos T, Murray CJL, Roth GA, GBD 2013 Stroke Panel Experts Group. Stroke prevalence, mortality and disability-adjusted life years in adults aged 20–64 years in 1990–2013: Data from the Global Burden of Disease 2013 studyNeuroepidemiology. 2015;45:190-202. doi:10.1159/000441098.