Newswise — Estimated costs of ischemic stroke in the United States in the next half century will exceed $2.2 trillion dollars. The findings are published in the online edition of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found the total cost of stroke from 2005-2050, in 2005 dollars, is projected to be $1.52 trillion for non-Hispanic whites, $379 billion for African Americans and $313 billion for Hispanics.
The estimated per capita cost of stroke is highest in African Americans ($25,782), followed by Hispanics ($17,201) and non-Hispanic whites ($15,597).
"The economic burden of stroke in African Americans and Hispanics will be enormous over the next several decades," said the study's lead author Devin Brown, MD, of the Stroke Program at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. "Further efforts to improve stroke prevention and treatment in these high stroke risk groups are necessary."
Brown says the ethnic disparities in stroke related health care are a critical issue since Hispanics and African Americans are less likely to be insured, have limited access to quality health care and have a higher incidence of ischemic stroke than non-Hispanic whites.
"As these two minority groups age, the impact of inequalities in stroke risk and stroke-related health care will result in mounting economic consequences," she said. "We hope the study's findings help public health planners in prioritizing resources and setting research agendas." In determining cost estimates, researchers considered ambulance services, initial hospitalization, nursing home costs, rehabilitation, outpatient clinic visits, drugs, informal care giving, and potential lost earnings.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability.
The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institutes of Health.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 19,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Parkinson's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), dementia, West Nile virus, and ataxia.