Slowdown in the decline of stroke mortality in the United States, 1978-1986.
The gradual decline in stroke mortality rates observed in the United States since 1900 accelerated markedly around 1973 for whites and around 1968 for blacks. During the next decade stroke mortality rates decreased by almost 50% so that the United States now experiences one of the lowest stroke mortality rates in the world. Beginning in 1979, however the annual rate of decline in stroke mortality began to slow considerably. Comparing the period 1979-1986 with the previous decade, a 57% slowing in the absolute rate of decline (as estimated by the slope of the linear portion of the mortality curve) was observed for white men; the corresponding slowdowns in the rate of decline were 58% for white women, 44% for black men, and 62% for black women. If the decline during the 1980s had continued at the rate observed for the period 1968/73-1978, there would have been 131,000 fewer stroke deaths during the period 1979-1986, 28,000 fewer in 1986 alone. This slowdown in the rate of decline in stroke mortality is occurring while mortality rates for both coronary heart disease and all causes are leveling off. The reasons for this change in the mortality trend remain unknown, and corresponding trends in the treatment and control of hypertension do not provide an entirely satisfactory explanation.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association