An ageing population is leading to an increasing number of strokes across Europe, a new report warns
A new study has warned that the stroke rate in Ireland could increase by 59% over the next two decades.
The Burden of Stroke in Europe report also suggests the death rate from stroke in Ireland will increase by 84% by 2035.
Europe-wide, the report predicts that the number of new strokes across the continent is likely to increase by 34%.
The predicted Irish increases are higher than many other European countries, although lower than countries such as Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg.
Prof Chirstopher McKevitt - an author of the report from King's College London - explained: "As the population ages, more people will have a stroke, and more will survive with long-term disabilities.
"We need to ensure better access to the best acute stroke care for all; and we need to focus efforts on improving support for stroke survivors in the months and years after they are sent home from hospital.
Chris Macey, the head of advocacy with Irish Heart Foundation, argues that immediate action is necessary to avoid overwhelming stroke units and emergency services.
In a statement, he said: "We don’t need extra money to fix things – we just need to invest in treatment and care that has been proved to save lives and money so we don’t have to send so many patients unnecessarily to expensive nursing home care."
The organisation is calling for a number of commitments from health officials - including hiring 200 extra therapists, and increasing access to home therapy and care for stroke survivors.
Mr Macey argued: "These measures are largely deliverable within the funding restrictions imposed on the health services. Many are considered to be basic standards of care in other countries. Together they can significantly reduce preventable death and disability without any increase in overall costs."