Research needs to enhance awareness and management of vascular risk factors that lead to stroke

Researchers from the Stroke Research and Prevention Group (HKU Stroke), School of Medicine, School of Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, LKS School of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) found a high incidence of ‘young stroke’ (stroke that occurs in older people). did. 18 to 55 years old), he experienced a 30% increase in Hong Kong from 2001 to 2021, calling for better management of vascular risk factors, particularly hypertension.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability worldwide. Although the overall incidence of stroke is declining in high-income countries, the incidence of stroke among young people is rising globally. However, the epidemiology of ‘juvenile stroke’ in Hong Kong remains unclear.
Using the hospital authority’s clinical data analysis and reporting system, the research team analyzed stroke trends in Hong Kong from 2001 to 2021 and found that the crude incidence of premature stroke increased from 39.1 per 100,000 people in 2001. We found a sharp increase to 48.3 per 100,000 people. 55.7 per 100,000 in 2011 and 55.7 per 100,000 in 2021 (Figure 1). Over the past 20 years, the total number of new stroke patients admitted to hospitals under the Hospital Authority has hovered around 13,500-14,000 per year, while the number of young stroke patients has increased from 1,531 in 2001 to 1,531 in 2021. of 2,028 people.

To identify risk factors for premature stroke, this study recruited 431 stroke patients aged 18 to 55 years who were admitted to Queen Mary and Rattongye Hospitals in Hong Kong between September 2019 and August 2022. We also followed a cohort of 53% had hypertension, 44% had hyperlipidemia, 26% had a history of smoking, 19% were obese, and 17% had diabetes (Figure 2). Among patients with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes, 33%, 64%, and 23%, respectively, were newly diagnosed during stroke hospitalization.

In another study, 284 apparently healthy Hong Kong Chinese aged 40 to 65 years underwent 24-hour blood pressure monitoring and approximately 40% were diagnosed with hypertension. Their average daily sodium intake was estimated at 14 g for men and 13 g for women, exceeding the World Health Organization recommendation of ≤5 g per day by 2.8 and 2.6 times, respectively. , was noted to be strongly correlated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and predicted 10-year stroke risk.

“These surprising findings call for greater awareness and control of the vascular risk factors that lead to stroke, especially among younger generations,” said Gary Lau Kui-kai, Ph.D., director of HKU Stroke, who led the study. commented, “Hypertension is a major modifiable risk factor for stroke, with previous studies showing that for every 20 mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure or 10 mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure, the risk of stroke was increased by 30-30%.” Consistent with other studies, our findings suggest that Chinese people tend to have very high sodium intakes, increased blood pressure and predicted stroke risk. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes are often the result of inappropriate lifestyle and dietary practices, and stroke prevention has been shown to reduce sodium intake. Measures to control these vascular risk factors by significantly reducing better diet, regular exercise, and smoking cessation are strongly recommended.

Our results are worrisome because stroke is associated with increased disability and mortality. Stroke also has profound psychological and social consequences. This is especially true for young individuals who are often the breadwinners of the family and who have to care for both older and younger family members. Our survey also showed that about 30% of stroke survivors in Hong Kong suffer from moderate to severe depression. This is consistent with other research. Therefore, the socio-psychological impact of stroke cannot be ignored. ”

Dr Gary Lau Kui-kai, Director, Stroke Research and Prevention Group, The University of Hong Kong

Knowing the symptoms of stroke is important for the general public so that they can seek medical attention quickly when needed. Delay or failure to seek care for stroke patients can be detrimental. Time is the brain, and it’s estimated that up to 1.9 million brain neurons can be lost for each untreated minute of stroke. Early treatment of stroke is associated with better outcomes, and delay in seeking care significantly undermines a stroke patient’s eligibility for treatment. The FAST slogan is commonly used to remind the community of stroke symptoms and what to do if a stroke is suspected. FAST stands for facial weakness, arm weakness, slurred speech, and it’s time to call for help or call 999.


Hong Kong University

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