Strokes Increasingly Common among Younger Americans
Commonly associated with older people, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. A recent report suggests it may also be growing more prevalent among younger patients.
A Growing Trend
According to a recent study, more young people are being hospitalized for stroke, even as stroke rates are declining among older Americans. Presented at a recent American Stroke Association conference, the research reviewed the total number of acute ischemic stroke hospitalizations from 1994 to 2007. Ultimately, it noted a sharp increase among stroke patients between the ages of 15 and 44, including a 51-percent jump among 15- to 34-year-old males.
Why the Increase?
While they can't say for sure, experts suggest a number of potential causes could be behind the rise, including:
- Changes in the way hospitals track stroke patients
- Increased awareness about stroke risk in younger people
- Improved diagnostic capabilities
- More referrals of younger patients to stroke neurologists
At the same time, some health professionals believe the trend could also be linked to risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure, which have also increased among younger Americans.
Reducing Your Risk
In addition to potentially fatal consequences, a stroke can result in severe disabilities that can significantly reduce the quality of your life. If you're concerned about the possibility of suffering a stroke, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk, including:
- Quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels in the normal range
- Seek treatment for heart disease
- Limit alcohol
- Stay active
- Eat a healthy diet
You should also seek yearly physical examinations to check for any underlying health problems that could leave you at a greater risk o