The number of strokes across the UK is expected to increase by some 44 per cent over the next two decades, a study has revealed.
The research, published by King’s College London, said the ageing population, combined with growing obesity problems, will be a major contributor to the rise.
After an analysis of 35 European countries, the research found that the number of strokes across the continent is likely to rise by more than a third (34 per cent). But in the UK, that number is expected to increase to 44 per cent.
Alexis Wieroniey, deputy director of policy and influencing at the Stroke Association, said: “The predicted rise in the burden of stroke is largely due to our ageing population, as the risk of having a stroke increases as you get older. It is a worrying forecast, but it is not inevitable.
“Most strokes are preventable and everyone can take steps to lower their risk of stroke as they get older.
“Obesity can increase your risk of stroke by at least 64 per cent. However, simple lifestyle changes like eating healthier meals, taking regular exercise and stopping smoking, along with checking your blood pressure regularly, can greatly reduce your risk.”
A stroke is a life-threatening medical condition which occurs when the brain is cut off from the blood supply. This can happen either by a clot blocking the blood vessel, or the vessel itself bursting.
The Stroke Association says there are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year – or around one every five minutes.