Stroke victims getting younger, increasing need for physio support

Friday 9th February 2018
Men are now most likely to suffer their first stroke at 68 and women at 73, according to new statistics. Image: jovannig via iStock
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The average age at which people in the UK suffer their first stroke has fallen markedly over the past decade, new figures reveal.

With the average age for men to experience a stroke falling from 71 to 68 between 2007 and 2016 and the age for women dropping from 75 to 73, more people are suffering strokes at a younger age, increasing the need for trained physios to help them to get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

These new statistics come from Public Health England and also reveal that 38 per cent of first-time strokes are now experienced by people aged between 40 and 69. Ten years ago, this age group accounted for 33 per cent of first-time strokes, demonstrating that the risk is increasing among middle-aged adults.

However, at the same time, the proportion of first-time strokes suffered by over-70s has decreased during the last decade, which is believed to be due to more effective prevention efforts.

While this may have had a knock-on effect on increasing the proportion suffered by under-70s, it also highlights that recurrent strokes are still a risk among this age group, particularly if more individuals are falling victim to strokes at a younger age.

With life expectancies higher than ever before too, this therefore suggests that more people could be left with disabilities for longer, meaning demand for support from qualified physiotherapists could increase as a result.

Professor Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, commented on the report, stating that it highlights just how important physio involvement is in stroke rehabilitation.

She explained: "Two-thirds of people leave hospital with a disability and 45 per cent of people who leave hospital after having had a stroke feel abandoned when they cannot access high-quality rehabilitation services.

"We cannot have people losing 20 years or more of their working lives for entirely avoidable reasons.

"Rehabilitation gives people back their independence and helps them get back into work, and it must be available to all who need it."

Written by Mathew Horton

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