Income, Education Can Affect Your Stroke Recovery

THURSDAY, Nov. 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Strokes can strike anyone, but income and education may play a role in whether your stroke is fatal or disabling, new research shows.

As reported Nov. 8 in the journal Neurology, folks who'd had a stroke were 10% more likely to die or become dependent on someone for their care if they were low-income or less educated.

Study lead author Anita Lindmark, of Umeå University in Sweden, said there's long been evidence that people from less advantaged backgrounds are already at higher risk of stroke.

"Our study sought to determine if socioeconomic status plays a role after stroke," she explained in a journal news release.

"Not only did we find an increased risk of death and dependency on others for those with low education and income levels, we also found that if interventions were put in place to reduce disparities, it could save lives," Lindmark added.

In their research, the Swedish team looked at data on almost 26,000 people in the Swedish Stroke Register who'd experienced a stroke over a two-year period. All of these people had previously lived independently, with no need for assistance in the activities of daily life.

Of these stroke patients, about 6,800 ended up either dying or requiring assistance within three months of their stroke.

Lindmark's team divided the patients into three socioeconomic groups: Low (low disposable income, only a primary school education), High (college education and relatively high disposable income) and Middle (education/income falling between the prior two categories).

They report significant differences in stroke outcomes based on education/income. While 39% of people in the Low group were either deceased or dependent on others three months after their stroke, that was only true for 18% in the High group.

Overall, and after adjusting for certain factors, people in the Low group for income/education were 10% more likely to end up deceased or disabled soon after their stroke, compared to folks in the High group.

The exact reasons for the disparity remain unclear, in part because the researchers didn't have good information on the locations in which individuals lived or the level of medical care they had received.

More information:

Find out more about post-stroke care at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Neurology, news release, Nov. 8, 2023

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