"The results show there is a high association between the wealth of a country, the portion of their gross domestic product (GDP) put into health-care and outcomes for stroke patients," said Doctor Gustavo Saposnik, director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at St. Michael's Hospital.
The correlation likely exists because these countries often don't invest enough in resources for the prevention and management of stroke risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes, he said.
"If you can reduce the risk factors, you reduce the risk of stroke."
Instead of looking at data from individuals or families, Saposnik and colleagues took a unique approach from previous research and analysed the data from regions and countries.
They linked stroke risk, 30-day death rate, hemorrhagic stroke incidence and age at disease onset to three economic indicators: GDP, money spent on health per capita and unemployment rate.
Unlike the other two indicators, unemployment rate did not affect any of the other stroke outcomes.
The authors said the findings expose the potential consequences of low investment on health. "Hopefully this research will provide the necessary background to help countries make the changes in how different resources and money are allocated," Saposnik said.
MEDICA.de; Source: St. Michael's Hospital