BRUSSELS, Dec. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Coinciding with the World Health
Organization (WHO) European Ministerial Conference on the Prevention
and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases in Turkmenistan, MEPs, patient
and physician representatives are today meeting at the European
Parliament to highlight that urgent national action is required to
"Stroke is a growing burden on our healthcare services but more
importantly has a devastating impact on survivors and their families,"
said MEP Nessa Childers. "Atrial fibrillation is not a well recognised
risk factor for stroke and yet it causes some of the most debilitating
and costly strokes. This is why it is so important that stroke
prevention and the risk factors for stroke are strongly addressed in EU
and national health plans."
Why Action is Needed
15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke each year, leaving 5 million people disabled. In Europe alone, the annual cost of
stroke is estimated to be 64 billion Euros. Atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition characterised by an irregular
heartbeat, is a major contributor to this.
AF increases stroke risk by 500%. People who have a stroke caused by AF are more likely to remain in
hospital for longer, less likely to be discharged to their home and 50%
more likely to remain disabled, relying on long-term care from their
families or nursing homes, yet the majority of AF-related strokes are preventable.
"Given the debilitating and costly nature of atrial fibrillation related
strokes, it is vital that EU and national health policy addresses the
gaps that allow patients to go undiagnosed and to receive sub-optimal
management," said MEP Oreste Rossi.
By uniting, MEPs and advocates have shown their support for policies
which deliver better recognition and management of AF and prevention of
"The Stroke Alliance For Europe, along with over a hundred other
organisations around the world, is working to ensure that stroke
prevention and atrial fibrillation are addressed in national health
plans," said SAFE President, Jelka Jansa. "Over half a million people
have already supported our cause and the Sign Against Stroke Campaign.
Together we hope to ensure fewer families experience the life changing
effects of a stroke."
Sign Against Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation
People can learn about AF and stroke and support the Sign Against Stroke
Campaign by visiting SignAgainstStroke.com. All signatures contribute to driving action to prevent AF-related
strokes and putting stroke prevention on EU and national policy
Bayer HealthCare has proudly supported the Sign Against Stroke Campaign
since its creation by 39 non-governmental organisations in 2011 and
remains committed to working together with all key stakeholders
involved to help improve AF-related stroke prevention.
1. The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke. World Health Organization.
http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/en/cvd_atlas_15_burden_stroke.pdf Last accessed 28 October 2013.
2. Gustavsson A, Svensson M, Jacobi F et al. Cost of disorders of the
brain in Europe 2010. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2011;21:718-7.
3. Fuster V et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA/HRS focused updates incorporated into
the ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with
atrial fibrillation: a report of the American College of Cardiology
Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on practice
guidelines. Circulation 2011;123(10):e269-367.
4. Lin HJ et al. Stroke severity in atrial fibrillation. The Framingham
Study. Stroke 1996;27(10):1760-4.
Date of preparation: November 2013
SOURCE: Bayer HealthCare
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