Most over 65-year of age in developing nations die from stroke

Updated: Feb 29, 2012, 19:53 PM IST

London: Stroke is one of the main causes of death among people over the age of 65 in developing countries like India and China, according to new research.

The study surveyed 12,373 people aged 65 and over between 2003 and 2005 in a total of 10 urban and rural sites in India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico and China, documenting over 2,000 deaths over a three to five year follow-up period.

The research titled `Mortality of older people in Latin America, India and China: Causes and prevention` was conducted by King`s College London.

"Chronic diseases are rapidly replacing communicable diseases as the leading cause of mortality and disability in developing countries. Since stroke is the leading cause of death in older people, and education is a strong protective factor, prevention may be possible, adding years to life and life to years," said Prof Martin Prince, the led researcher.

"The current global health chronic disease agenda is largely focused on reducing mortality among working age adults. The concept of `premature mortality` applied in such cases, is essentially ageist.

I hope our findings will help highlight the lack of information about end of life among older people in developing countries, both regarding potential for prevention, and support and care of the dying, who, in the poorest settings, may not receive timely or effective medical intervention."

In 2005, deaths of people aged 60 and over accounted 61 per cent of all deaths in middle-income countries, and 33 per cent in low-income countries, compared to 84 per cent in high-income countries, yet there has been little research into the causes and determinants of these deaths.

Most deaths occurred at home, with a particularly high proportion in rural China (91 per cent), India (86 per cent), and rural Mexico (65 per cent). Other than in India, most received medical care for their final illness, but this was usually at home rather than in the hospital or clinic.