my way

Facts & Figures

Stroke is the second most common single causes of death in the EU: it accounts for over 176,000 (7%) male deaths and just under 250,000 (10%) female deaths.

Stroke is responsible for 51,000 deaths in women and 90.000 in men under 65 years in EU.

Moreover, death rates for stroke are higher in Eastern and Central regions than in Northern, Southern and Western regions. For example, among EU countries, they range from 53 per 100,000 in France and Luxembourg to 353 per 100,000 in Bulgaria in males and from 42 per 100,000 in France to 281 per 100,000 in Bulgaria in females.

Steady declines in age-standardised mortality rates are occurring since the 1980s in most Northern, Southern and Western European countries compared to more recent decreases in Central and Eastern European countries. Within the EU, the percentage difference in age-standardised mortality rates between 2003 and the latest available year ranged from 14% in Bulgaria to 73% in Estonia among men and from 11% in Ireland to 75% in Estonia among women.

Mortality rates under 65 years for stroke show similar patterns to those for all ages, with higher death rates among males than females and higher death rates in Central and Eastern regions compared to Northern, Southern and Western parts. Trends in stroke mortality under 65 years are also similar to those for all ages, with consistent decreases in Northern, Southern and Western states, and more volatile trends in Central and Eastern countries from 1980 to the early 2000s, followed by widespread mortality declines more recently.

The incidence of a disease describes the number of new cases that develop within a population over a specified period of time. In the EU, there were 286,000 new cases of stroke among males and 340,000 in females in 2015.

The prevalence of a disease refers to the number of people in a population who are currently living with the disease, or in the case of cardiovascular conditions, the number of people alive today who have ever suffered a cardiovascular event. Within the EU, almost 3,8 million people (1,805,621 males and 1,962,924 females) were living with stroke in 2015.

The disability-adjusted life year (DALY) is an aggregate measure of years of life lost due to premature death from a condition and years lived with a disability due to a condition, with one DALY equating to one healthy year of life lost. In the EU in 2015, 6.5 million DALYs were lost to stroke. The age-standardised DALY rate for stroke among males in the EU was 825/100,000 and among females was 588/100,000. 

Stroke is estimated to cost the EU economy €45 billion a year:

  • €20 billion (44%) are due to direct health care costs, €14 billion of these costs are due to inpatient hospital care for people who have strokes and drugs accounted for about €1 billion.
  • €16 billion (35%) are due to the informal care of people with stroke
  • €9 billion (20%) are to productivity losses, €5 billion of the production losses due to mortality and €4 billion due to morbidity.

Age standardised death rates from stroke, under 65 years, latest available year, Europe – Males

Age standardised death rates from stroke, under 65 years, latest available year, Europe – Females

Epidemiological situation in MY WAY countries (age-standardisation adjusts crude rates to remove the influence of different population age structures).


Wilkins E, Wilson L, Wickramasinghe K, Bhatnagar P, Leal J, Luengo-Fernandez R, Burns R, Rayner M, Townsend N (2017). European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2017. European Heart Network, Brussels.