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This is Story in the Story.

A recent study has shown that long-term exposure to PM2.5, a major particle matter pollutant, increases the risk of stroke among Chinese adults.

Researchers from Fuwai Hospital under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences evaluated the association between long-term exposure to PM2.5 and stroke incidence based on data collected from more than 117,000 Chinese adults.

Meantime, researchers at that hospital have developed a tool for predicting stroke risks among Chinese adults, which will facilitate the identification and prevention of the disease in China.

Risk assessment is essential for the primary prevention of stroke. However, most of the tools currently available for predicting stroke such as the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile are developed from data of western populations.

There is a lack of risk prediction models that could be applied to the individualized stroke risk assessment in the general Chinese population.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at what causes stroke and why it has created a heavy burden in China.


(Photo: IC)

Research shows the risk of stroke increases by 53 percent for the population living in an environment with PM2.5 concentration above 78.2 micrograms per cubic meter for an extended period.

Gu Dongfeng, the leading researcher, said the research provides new evidence that PM2.5 is an important risk factor for stroke development in China.

These findings could provide a reference for policy-making on air pollution and stroke prevention, Gu said, adding that the team will continue investigating the chronic health effects of air pollution with a larger sample size.

Researchers from Fuwai Hospital developed the prediction tool for assessing 10-year and lifetime stroke risk based on data collected from more than 21,000 Chinese adults and validated the tool with data from more than 80,000 Chinese people.

The prediction tool takes into consideration risk factors including an individual's age, gender, blood pressure, smoking habits, diabetes, and cholesterol levels. It also considers risk factors with Chinese characteristics including urbanization and geographic regions.

Validation showed that the tool has better prediction capability for the Chinese population compared with the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile.

"An accurate and easily-used risk assessment tool is essential as it will enable identification of high-risk individuals and facilitates proper management of stroke risk factors," Gu said.

An academic essay published last June in The Lancet, an internationally authoritative medical journal, concluded that currently the leading cause of death in China is stroke. The essay looked at mortality and risk factors in China from 1990-2017.


(Photo: CGTN)

Based on years of life lost, the research revealed that age-standardized stroke is now the No.1 killer ahead of things like cancer, road injuries and non-infectious diseases.

That wasn't the case 30 years ago. According to statistics, China's main disease burdens in 1990 were lower respiratory infections and neonatal disorders.

Infectious disease, once the leading cause of death among Chinese people, has been replaced by chronic non-communicable diseases, described by researchers as a "dramatic change."

The decrease in the death rate from infectious diseases is mainly due to the tremendous progress made by the Chinese health environment, the essay said.

On the other hand, the rising mortality rate of chronic non-communicable diseases may be related to population aging and living environment, as well as living habits of Chinese citizens.

When it comes to the causes of stroke, eating habits become a crucial factor. According to the report, hypertension, smoking, alcohol consumption, and eating too much high-sodium food are all risk factors for stroke.

An article, "Global, Regional, and Country-specific Lifetime Risks of Stroke, 1990 and 2016" published in The New England Journal of Medicine in December 2018 found that East Asia has the highest risk of stroke.

Among those Asian countries, China is at the most risk to strokes, according to statistics in this study. Eating too much salt in daily life has become a major health problem.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon and Paris Yelu Xu. Music by: bensound.com. Text from Xinhua and China Daily.)