A study by the Stroke Association in the United Kingdom says that there is a concerning rise in the number of strokes that younger men and women are having. Researchers say the results of the study conclude that stroke should no longer be considered a disease solely among older people.
The study from the Stroke Association analyzed data from national hospital admissions between the year 2000 and 2014. They noted that the trends for people in their 40s and early 50s appeared to be getting worse. In England last year, there were 6,221 men between the ages of 40 and 54 who were admitted to the hospital for stroke. This is an increase from the 1,961 men who were admitted to the hospital for stroke in 2000. The data also showed that there were an additional 1,075 strokes in 2014 among women aged 40 to 54, compared to the number of stroke among women of the same age group in 2000.
What is the reason for the increase in strokes among younger men and women? Experts say that the rise in strokes among younger people is likely due to leading unhealthy lifestyles. This includes the growing obesity levels, sedentary lives, and unhealthy diets. All of these factors increase the risk of blood clots, and even more so when a person has multiple risk factors. However, the growing population and changes to hospital practice are also likely to blame.
Researchers say strokes among younger people do not only affect their health. They can also cause personal and financial impacts on individuals and their families which can last for a long time. Strokes can be a huge cost to people and their families as well as the healthcare system. Strokes among this age group can even affect the economy because it can be very difficult for recovering patients to return to work.
The Stroke Association concludes that younger people should be aware of the warning signs for stroke such as dizziness, difficulties with speech and changes in the face. This study highlights the importance of keeping track of blood pressure and cholesterol and making sure both are under control. Men and women should also start regularly monitoring for heart health starting at age 40.
Stroke statistics for the US:
· Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
· On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every forty seconds and someone dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
· Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths.
· People over the age of 65 are most often affected by stroke, and accounts for about three-quarters of all strokes.
· The risk for having a stroke more than doubles after 55.
What causes a stroke? A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a certain part of the brain is disrupted or severely blocked. This can happen as a result of blood clots or bleeds to the brain. When this happens, the brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients which are essential for function. In a very short amount of time (within minutes), the brain cells begin to die because they are being starved.
Having a stroke is a very serious emergency in which immediate treatment is crucial. If a stroke is not treated right away, severe brain damage can occur which can leave a patient permanently disabled mentally and physically. Fortunately, strokes can be treated and prevented. While the death rate among stroke victims is still high, people are dying of them much less than they once were years ago.
Experts say that if stroke is increasing in people under age 45, it is most likely due to the rise in obesity. In the United States, the rate of obesity is at an all-time high, especially among children and teens. This increases their lifetime risk for stroke. Obesity increases the risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. All of these are serious risk factors for stroke regardless of how old a person is.
Tips to prevent stroke at any age:
· Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
· Recognize and control diabetes.
· Eat a diet low in saturated fat and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
· Avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking.
· Work with your doctor to identify underlying diseases.
· Start controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol at an early age.