Ann Arbor, Mich. -- Unless Americans do more to lower their risk of stroke and improve stroke care, the nation will pay $2.2 trillion over the next 45 years to care for people who suffer the most common form of stroke, a new University of Michigan study predicts.
And a disproportionate share of the bill will be for African-American and Latino stroke patients, because of their tendency to suffer strokes at younger ages and get poorer-quality preventive care than others. In fact, stroke-related costs among people under age 65 account for about half of the predicted total, which includes lost wages.
The study, published August 16 in the online version of the journal Neurology and funded by the National Institutes of Health, highlights the importance of efforts to prevent future strokes in all ethnic groups, but especially in young and middle-aged African Americans and Latinos, says lead author Devin Brown, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor in the U-M Medical School Department of Neurology and a member of the U-M Stroke Program.
"Doing the right thing now ultimately could be cost-saving in the future, but we have a long way to go before all Americans receive adequate stroke prevention and emergency stroke care," she says. "If our society is not going to do it for the right reasons, perhaps we can do it because it's going to be obscenely expensive."
Brown and her colleagues say their $2.2 trillion estimate is extremely conservative, because it is based on current rates of the conditions that put people at higher risk of stroke -- such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Such conditions are projected to become even more common in the future.
The $2.2 trillion estimate includes the cost of everything from ambulances and hospital stays to medications, nursing home care, at-home care and doctor's visits. They also include lost earnings for stroke survivors under age 65, based on current median salaries fo
Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System