Portuguese at high risk from strokes

ALMOST half a million Portuguese are at risk of suffering from strokes over the next 10 years, but 40 per cent of these cases could be avoided with more efficient treatment, reveals a new study presented recently at a meeting of the Portuguese Society for Hypertension, held in the Algarve.

The study involved 20,005 Portuguese people, aged between 55 and 84, 1,101 doctors and 240 specialists. The results of the investigation concluded that “the probabilities of suffering a stroke increase with age in both sexes, although it is more likely in men, and that “the situation is particularly serious in Portugal”.

The study estimated that, in the next decade, over 400,000 Portuguese will be at risk of suffering from a stroke. However, the study warns that “with efficient treatment, nearly 180,000 cases in Portugal could be avoided”, which corresponds to 40 per cent of those at risk.

The investigation presented the following results on the likelihood of men and women suffering a stroke in relation to their age over the next 10 years:

Men Women

Percentage Age Percentage Age

9.6% 55-59 2.8% 55-59

14% 60-64 7.2% 60-64

19.5% 65-69 14.5% 65-69

25.8% 70-74 20.5% 70-74

31.2% 75-79 28.9% 75-79

30.5% 80-84 30.4% 80-84

The study, therefore, shows that the risk increases with age for both sexes, although the percentage was higher in men at every age range studied, except for the 80-84 group when the risk for both sexes is almost the same.

The report considers the situation “worrying”, especially for men, and emphasises that, of all the conditions related to strokes, “high blood pressure is the foremost”.

• Dra. Maria Alice of Luzdoc will be writing about strokes and hypertension in her next Resident Prescription column.