A University of Michigan study indicates strokes will cost the United States $2.2 trillion by 2050 if prevention and treatment don't improve.
A disproportionate share of the bill will be for African-American and Latino stroke patients, because of their tendency to suffer strokes at younger ages and receive poorer-quality preventive care than others, Michigan researchers said. Stroke-related costs among people under age 65 account for about half of the predicted total, which includes lost wages.
The study's lead author, Dr. Devin Brown, an assistant professor at the university, said the study highlights the importance of efforts to prevent strokes in all ethnic groups, but especially in young and middle-aged African-Americans and Latinos.
"Doing the right thing now ultimately could be cost-saving in the future, but we have a long way to go before all Americans receive adequate stroke prevention and emergency stroke care," she said. "If our society is not going to do it for the right reasons, perhaps we can do it because it's going to be obscenely expensive."
The research appears in the online version of the journal Neurology.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
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