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BMJ. Apr 8, 1995; 310(6984): 901–904.
PMCID: PMC2549289

Do changes in cardiovascular risk factors explain changes in mortality from stroke in Finland?


OBJECTIVES--To estimate the extent to which the changes in the main cardiovascular risk factors (blood pressure, smoking, and serum cholesterol concentration) can explain the observed changes in mortality from stroke in Finland during the past 20 years. DESIGN--Predicted changes in mortality from cerebrovascular disease mortality were calculated by a proportional hazards model from data obtained in cross sectional population surveys in 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, and 1992. Predicted changes were compared with the observed changes in mortality statistics. SETTING--North Karelia and Kuopio provinces, Finland. SUBJECTS--16,741 men and 16,389 women aged 30-59 randomly selected from the national population register, of whom 14,054 men and 14,546 women participated. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Levels of risk factors and predicted and observed changes in mortality from cerebrovascular disease. RESULTS--The observed changes in diastolic blood pressure, total serum cholesterol concentration, and smoking in the population from 1972 to 1992 predicted a 44% fall in mortality from stroke in men and changes in diastolic blood pressure and smoking predicted a 34% fall in women. The observed fall in mortality from stroke was 66% in men and 60% in women. CONCLUSIONS--Two thirds of the fall in mortality from stroke in men and half in women can be explained by changes in the three main cardiovascular risk factors.

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