Strokes account for almost 10% of all deaths worldwide in 2016, and according to a new publication driven by senior author and UW Cardiologist Dr. Gregory Roth, globally one in four people will have a stroke at the age of 25 or older. Along with various authors and researchers from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2016 Lifetime Risk of Stroke Collaborators, Dr. Roth’s publication titled “Global, Regional, and Country-Specific Lifetime Risks of Stroke, 1990-2016 estimates the risk of strokes at all levels of populations using data from a study of the prevalence of major diseases. The goal? To emphasize the importance of lifetime risk of stroke when planning long-term health systems, and gauge the effect of current stroke prevention strategies.

The study focuses on the cumulative lifetime risks of first stroke, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke among adults aged 25 and older, a first for similar stroke studies as previous results have usually started their data at age 45. Researchers found “the lifetime stroke risk for 25 years old in 2016 ranged from 8% to 39% depending on where they live” with China having the highest risk.

“The findings are startling”, described by Dr. Roth, who is also an Assistant Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), hoping the results will encourage young adults to take into account their long-term health. Just by consuming “a healthier diet, regularly exercising, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol can make a huge difference”. This insight could help lead individuals around the world “prioritize and target strategies for prevention”, says Dr. Peter Rothwell who hopes the work will continue on past this publication for future decades to look upon.

Some other key findings within the publication include a list of high risk environments, and data depicting substantial regional and country-level variations by sex.

An Overview of the Findings


The publication was recently featured on CNN, and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Click here to read the full publication on NEJM, or for more information, visit IHME’s website.

Video and photo via IHME.