A new long-term study has revealed that seniors in the US are suffering fewer strokes, regardless of their race or sex. Not only that, but those people who do have strokes are more likely to survive them.

“We found that stroke incidence [among those 65 and older] has been declining for the last 20 years,” said senior study author Dr. Josef Coresh, a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Starting in 1987, researchers from a variety of universities began monitoring the health of 14,300 healthy adults who were all over the age of 45. For the next 24 years, the researchers kept track of their medical progress and paid attention to stroke rates.  In order to see if the stroke rates were increasing or decreasing, the researchers compared patients to other patients within the same age groups.

In 2011, the researchers found that the incidence of stroke in people 65 or older declined by around 50 percent. They also noted that fewer people died after having a stroke. In younger age groups, however, it was found that the rate stayed the same, although they are not yet sure why that is.

The researchers have said that the incidence of stroke in seniors has most likely declined due to better medical attention. They said that pills for hypertension and high cholesterol are helping reduce the rates, as well as the decrease in smokers. Even so, more work can be done to prevent strokes, especially since obesity rates are going up.

“One should keep an eye on this because the maturing of the obesity epidemic could eventually still increase risk,” Coresh said.

“We know a lot about how to prevent stroke, and we should continue to be diligent about prevention,” he added.

The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


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