Stroke Cases Increase In Germany Due To Demography
Because of the demographic changes, there will be a marked increase in strokes in the coming years. Even in 2004, the medical costs for the care of stroke patients in Germany came to 7.1 billion euros. In their original article in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, the neurologist Tobias Neumann-Haefelin of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt and his colleagues have calculated the projected number of strokes in the German federal state of Hesse for the year 2050.
Even though the total population in Hesse will decrease, the number of stroke patients will increase by about 68% by 2050. In particular, the number of patients aged 85 years or older will increase by about 265%. Because of the demographic structure in Germany, major consequences can be expected for the health care system.
Even today, stroke is the disease which most frequently leads to permanent disability, necessitating long-term care. The extrapolation to 2050 is based on data from a quality assurance program and on demographic data from the Hesse State Statistical Office.
In the intermediate term, health care structures will have to be modified to cope with the increasing numbers of stroke patients. The authors also emphasize the importance of strategies to prevent stroke in older people.