According to WHO, 87% of the 57 million people who die from stroke each year live in low-income or middle-income countries, which are unlikely to be able to afford stroke units or new drugs. Worryingly, because of changing demographics, 7-8 million people will die each year of stroke by 2030 unless national governments in poorer countries start to implement population-based primary prevention strategies that are proven to work. Kathleen Strong and colleagues from WHO, writing in the February issue of The Lancet Neurology, propose a worldwide goal for stroke: “a 2% reduction [in stroke death rates] each year over and above that which may happen as a result of better case management and treatment.” Achieving this worthy goal would result in 64 million fewer deaths from stroke between 2005 and 2015-
But this target will only be possible if governments and international agencies realise that stroke is neither solely a disease of affluence nor does it selectively affect older people who are nearing the end of their lives. A third of all stroke deaths are in people younger than 70 years of age, with 94% of those deaths taking place in low-income or middle-income countries. Implementation of interventions that reduce hypertension, poor diet, and tobacco use will save more lives than all the thrombolytics, antiplatelets, and neuroprotectants combined. There is little doubt that for stroke, prevention really is better than cure.
This is an important role for nutrition. Weight control, blood cholesterol and sugar control , a diet containing the ideal components especially in my view plenty of varied fruit and vegetables and exercise.
This is real nutrition.
- Martin Eastwood