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People living in deprived areas have higher rates of stroke: study

07-04-2011 09:36 BJT

CANBERRA, July 3 (Xinhua) -- People living in deprived areas have higher rates of stroke than those enjoying more affluent lifestyles, Australian researchers said on Sunday.

The study led by Dr Emma Heeley, a senior researcher from The George Institute for Global Health, looked at stroke statistics for 3,077 patients from Perth, Melbourne of Australia and Auckland of New Zealand between 1995 and 2003.

The study found those from the most disadvantaged areas had a 70 percent higher chance of having a stroke than those in wealthy suburbs.

Those living in poorer areas also had strokes at a younger age, 68 compared with 77 for their wealthier cousins.

Dr Heeley said the findings suggested that up to one-fifth of strokes could be prevented by improving the socioeconomic status of those in deprived areas.

"Our analysis provides evidence that people living in areas that are relatively more deprived in socioeconomic terms experience higher rates of stroke," she said in a statement released on Sunday.

"This may be explained by a higher prevalence of risk factors among these populations, such as hypertension, diabetes and cigarette smoking.

"Effective preventative measures in the more deprived areas of the community could substantially reduce rates of stroke."

Dr Heeley and her colleagues also found that men had significantly higher rates of stroke than women across all socioeconomic backgrounds except the most deprived.

However, the researchers found no link between where people lived and their chances of dying 12 months after a stroke.

"Rather, the risk of death was found to be principally driven by age, premorbid functioning and severity of illness," Dr Heeley wrote.

The finding of study was published in the Australian Medical Journal on Sunday.

Editor:Li Wanran |Source: Xinhua

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