Experts warn of stroke crisis in europe

In Europe alone, ten million people are affected by atrial fibrillation, a condition that is too rarely diagnosed and inadequately treated, reports Action for Stroke Prevention, an alliance of health experts and patient organizations. Atrial fibrillation, a cardiac arrhythmia, is associated with a fivefold increased risk of stroke compared to the general population, he says.

John Camm, professor of clinical cardiology at St George`s University in London, United Kingdom, explained what is meant by the stroke crisis when asked by Deutsche Gesundheits Nachrichten: "The term crisis means that we have an increasing risk of stroke and implies that this risk will increase despite available treatment options."No one can be held accountable for this, they said. Nevertheless, Camm is highly critical of the fact that the problem has not been taken seriously enough so far: "We are simply not able to persuade national health systems to prioritize this problem."

Warnings of a stroke crisis had already been ied in 2009. Since then, little has apparently happened. Camm: "That risk is higher because the population continues to age". The combination of cardiovascular diseases and increasing age leads to an increase in the annual rate of strokes, according to Camm. Strokes due to atrial fibrillation are more serious than those due to other causes, he said. This reduces the prospect of patients being able to return to their home environment.

Another survey result also surprised the experts, who were joined by more than 9.000 people from 20 countries took part in the survey: Although almost a third of those questioned (31 percent) were more afraid of a stroke than, for example, of heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol levels, the survey showed that the number of people in the European Union who are afraid of a stroke is still high. Yet atrial fibrillation (VHF) is known at all by only 52 percent of Europeans, IPSOS MORI survey finds. At the same time, atrial fibrillation is a more serious risk factor for stroke than, for example, high blood prere. The annual cost attributable to strokes is around 64 billion euros. That's one reason why efforts need to be stepped up to reduce their numbers, experts at Action for Stroke Prevention emphasize.

"We need to ensure that VCFs are recognized as a significant risk factor for stroke in national plans for prevention, and that these plans identify specific actions to aid early diagnosis and improved awareness, information and prevention," Camm said. "We hope national governments will take this into account in their plans to achieve the United Nations goal of reducing noncommunicable diseases by 25 percent by 2025."

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