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Please click on image to access IPH’s Stroke Briefing that was published in September 2012

What is stroke?

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted by a blocked or burst blood vessel. A lack of blood supply can damage brain cells and affect body functions.

IPH has systematically estimated and forecast the prevalence of stroke on the island of Ireland.


Age, family history, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and alcohol are the main risk factors for stroke.

The World Health Organization estimates that stroke and cerebrovascular disease is responsible for 10% of all world deaths and is the second most common cause of death worldwide.

Cerebrovascular diseases (ICD 10 codes I60-I69) were responsible for 7.2% of all deaths in the Republic of Ireland in 2009 and for 8.6% of all deaths in Northern Ireland in 2010.

Policy context

In the Republic of Ireland, Changing Cardiovascular Health: National Cardiovascular Health Strategy 2010–2019 addresses the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease including stroke. The Stroke Council of the Irish Heart Foundation published National Clinical Guidelines and Recommendations for the Care of People with Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack to address the issues raised by its National Audit of Stroke Care. The Health Service Executive’s national clinical programme for stroke aims for rapid access to best-quality stroke services and sets out objectives for quality, access and cost.

In Northern Ireland, the Service Framework for Cardiovascular Health and Wellbeing details standards for good practice relating to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular conditions including stroke. Improving Stroke Services in Northern Ireland sets out recommendations and clinical and organisational standards for improvements in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of people with stroke.


IPH stroke estimates and forecasts

IPH has estimated and forecast clinical diagnosis rates of stroke among adults for the years 2010, 2015 and 2020.

In the Republic of Ireland, the data are based on the Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition (SLÁN) 2007. The data describe the number of adults who report that they have experienced doctor-diagnosed stroke in the previous 12 months. Data are available by age and sex for each Local Health Office of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, the data are based on the Health and Social Wellbeing Survey 2005/06. The data describe the number of adults who report that they have experienced doctor-diagnosed stroke at any time in the past. Data are available by age and sex for each Local Government District in Northern Ireland.

Clinical diagnosis rates in the Republic of Ireland relate to the previous 12 months and are not directly comparable with clinical diagnosis rates in Northern Ireland which relate to anytime in the past.

Click here for details of the methods used to calculate the estimates and forecasts.

Use the Health Well's Data Visualiser to explore or download the data (last updated September 2012).

View the stroke theme on the Health Well's Community Profiles.

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