The socioeconomic and health effect of stroke and other non-communicable disorders (NCDs) that share many of the same risk factors with stroke, such as heart attack, dementia, and diabetes mellitus, is huge and increasing. Collectively, NCDs account for 34.5 million deaths (66% of deaths from all causes) and 1,344 million disability-adjusted life years worldwide in 2010. The burden of NCDs is likely to burgeon given the aging of the world’s population and the epidemiological transition currently observed in many low- to middle-income countries (LMICs). In addition, there is low awareness in the population about these NCDs and their risk factors, particularly in LMICs. These factors, coupled with underuse of strategies for primary prevention of stroke/NCDs on an individual level and the lack of accurate data on the prevalence and effect of risk factors in different countries and populations have been implicated in the ever-increasing worldwide burden of the NCDs. Of particular concern is a significant increase in the number of young adults (aged <65 years) affected by stroke, and the increasing epidemic of overweight/obesity and diabetes mellitus worldwide. If these trends continue, the burden of stroke and other major NCDs will increase even faster. The increasing burden of stroke and other major NCDs provide strong support for the notion that the currently used primary prevention strategies for stroke and other major NCDs (business as usual) are not sufficiently effective. The most pertinent solution to this problem is the implementation of new, effective, widely available, and cost-effective prevention and treatment strategies to reduce the incidence and severity distribution of stroke and other major NCDs.
Feigin VL, Krishnamurthi R, Bhattacharjee R, et al. New strategy to reduce the global burden of stroke. Stroke. 2015 April 16; 46. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.008222.