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30 June 2017
Cerebrovascular Disease  

Introduction

Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) is a group of diseases related to blood vessels supplying the brain. The arteries of the brain can be blocked by blood clots and deprive the brain cells of nutrients and oxygen. Alternatively, bursting of an artery of the brian causes a devastating cerebral haemorrhage with disruption of brain tissue. The disease can cause severe disabilities and even death.

 

Situation in Hong Kong

Classification of diseases and causes of death is based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) 10th Revision from 2001 onwards. Figures from 2001 onwards may not be comparable with figures for previous years which were compiled based on the ICD 9th Revision.

Cerebrovascular diseases corresponds to codes 430-438 in ICD-9 and I60-I69 in ICD-10.

CVD claimed about 24500 inpatient discharges and inpatient deaths in all hospitals, and 3259 registered deaths in 2015. It was the fourth commonest cause of deaths in Hong Kong and accounted for 7.0% of all deaths in 2015. The crude death rates were 49.6 for male and 40.5 for female per 100000 population of respective sex in 2015. Age-standardised death rates were 24.7 for male and 15.6 for female per 100000 standard population in 2015. From early 1980's to 2000, the age-standardised mortality rate for CVD has dropped by almost one-half. The Population Health Survey 2003/04 revealed that 1.1% of people aged 15 and above had doctor-diagnosed CVD.

Number of registered deaths and crude death rate
of cerebrovascular disease by sex, 1981-2000

Number of registered deaths and crude death rate of cerebrovascular disease by sex, 1981-2000

Number of registered deaths and crude death rate
of cerebrovascular disease by sex, 2001-2015

Number of registered deaths and crude death rate of cerebrovascular disease by sex, 2001-2015

Age-standardised death rate* of cerebrovascular
disease by sex, 1981-2000

Age-standardised death rate of cerebrovascular disease by sex, 1981-2000

Age-standardised death rate* of cerebrovascular
disease by sex, 2001-2015

Age-standardised death rate of cerebrovascular disease by sex, 2001-2015

Notes: Include both inpatient discharges and inpatient deaths in all hospitals with cerebrovascular disease as the principal diagnosis in that episode of hospitalisation.
  Include registered deaths with cerebrovascular disease as the underlying cause of death.
  * Age-standardised death rates are compiled based on the world standard population specified in GPE Discussion Paper Series: No.31, EIP/GPE/EBD, World Health Organization, 2001.
   

Data in the above charts from 1996 onwards are compiled based on the population estimates under the "resident population" approach instead of the "extended de facto" approach. Also, the 2016 Population By-census conducted from June to August 2016 provides a benchmark for revising the population figures compiled since the 2011 Population Census. Population-related figures from 2012 to 2015 have been revised accordingly.

   

Classification of diseases and causes of death is based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) 10th Revision from 2001 onwards. Figures from 2001 onwards may not be comparable with figures for previous years which were compiled based on the ICD 9th Revision.

Sources:

 

Census and Statistics Department
Department of Health

Symptoms

Symptoms of the disease usually develop suddenly. They may include paralysis or numbness of the body and limbs, slurring of speech, blurring of vision, incontinence, abrupt onset of severe headache, unsteadiness and fall. In severe cases, the patient may go into a coma or die. These symptoms should be regarded as an emergency. Delay in seeking medical attention can significantly affect the outcomes and reduce the chances of recovery.

 

Risk factors

Many risk factors for CVD have been identified. They include advancing age, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking, excessive drinking, obesity and lack of physical activity. Some underlying illnesses such as rheumatic heart disease or congenital abnormalities of brain vessels also increase the risk of CVD.

 

Prevention

Smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided. It is imperative to control hypertension and diabetes to reduce the risk of CVD. A balanced diet, regular physical activity and maintaining an optimal weight and waist circumference are also important.

 

Related information

To know more about CVD and healthy lifestyle, please browse the website of the Health Zone. Besides, the Elderly Health Services of the Department of Health offers various health promotion programmes for the elderly.

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