Stroke is a major health burden in Thailand. It is the leading cause of death and long term disability in both men and women. Despite the improvement of healthcare system, the mortality rate of stroke is still increasing during the past 5 years. The incidence of stroke in Thailand is now being studied in a large population based cohort. The prevalence of stroke is estimated to be 1.88% among adults 45 years and older. Stroke is more prevalent in men than in women and the mean age of stroke onset is 65 years. Hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and atrial fibrillation are major risk factors of stroke in the Thai population. Evolution from predominantly rural to urbanized industrial communities result in the increasing prevalence of these risk factors. Similar to other parts of the world, ischemic stroke is the most common stroke type but the proportion of hemorrhagic stroke is higher when compared to Caucasian populations. Among patients with ischemic stroke, lacunar stroke is most common, accounting for almost half followed by atherosclerotic disease. Intracranial atherosclerosis is also prevalent in Thai population. For acute treatment, intravenous thrombolysis has been used in Thailand for over 20 years. Its cost is reimbursed by the national health care system but its use is still limited. With the introduction of the stroke fast track system, prompt stroke treatment across the country is warranted. Stroke unit is now the standard of care in large regional and provincial hospitals.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Stroke; Thailand.