Epidemiology of classical risk factors in stroke patients in the Middle East

Eur J Neurol. 2016 Feb;23(2):262-9. doi: 10.1111/ene.12742. Epub 2015 Jun 4.


The Middle East (ME) is an ethnically and economically diverse region. A systematic review of all stroke studies conducted in the ME was carried out, with the aim of determining the prevalence of classic vascular risk factors (CRFs) across this region. Additionally, the prevalence of CRFs in the ME was compared to that of a US cohort. Prospective and retrospective ME stroke studies published from 1994 to 2014 were searched for that specifically reported on the prevalence of CRFs. The Z test for proportions was used to determine the significance of differences in CRF rates between the ME and non-ME studies. A total of 21,724 stroke patients from 13 nations in the ME were included. The prevalence rates for CRFs in the ME stroke population were hypertension, 62.1%; diabetes, 33.1%; dyslipidaemia, 36.8%; ischaemic heart disease, 24.6%; smoking, 19.3%; and atrial fibrillation, 13.6%. Compared to the US cohort, ME patients had a lower prevalence of all CRFs except diabetes (P < 0.0001) and smoking (P = 0.05). Compared with stroke patients in the USA, those in the ME have a significantly higher prevalence of diabetes and smoking. Education and lifestyle modification is perhaps the most effective strategy in reducing the risk of stroke in this population.

Keywords: Middle East; diabetes; dyslipidaemia; hypertension; ischaemic heart disease; prevalence; smoking; stroke.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle East / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology