Number of Young People Affected by Strokes on the Rise

Many people assume that strokes affect only very old people, over the age of 65 or 70. That is not true, as younger people can suffer from strokes as well. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois is only 52, yet he recently had a stroke.

Dr. Ralph Sacco, a University of Miami neurologist, stated that anyone can suffer from strokes, regardless of the age and of the physical condition. Each year, around 795,000 people have a stroke in the United States of America. In the majority of the cases, the reason for the stroke is the fact that the blood flow is blocked. When this happens, an ischemic stroke occurs. The blood flow is blocked, and as a result the brain cells are starved to death.

Strokes Affect Young People as Well

It is true that the large majority of strokes occurs in older people, but around 25 percent of them occur in people younger than 65. In the Southeast of the United States, 45 percent of the stroke patients are under the age of 50, and that is worrying.

On top of that, it has been recently discovered that the ischemic strokes in people with ages between 15 and 44 have increased with 30 percent in the past 10 years. In some of the cases, the strokes which occur in the case of the younger people are harder, or even impossible to predict. In Kirk’s case, the stroke was discovered as he felt dizzy. He was very active prior to the stroke, swimming very often. In his case, the stroke was caused by trauma, however, it is uncertain what type of trauma caused it. The stroke affected his left side, but he is starting to recover.

Strokes can be triggered by other things as well, such as heart birth defects. One of them is the PFO, which is a hole in the heart. Blood-clotting disorders can trigger strokes as well. The good thing is that the strokes are preventable. A healthy lifestyle will reduce the odds of developing a stroke. The problem is that people, especially young ones, do not have a healthy lifestyle. Many of them get fat; suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, or other illnesses which affect the arteries. Last year, 1 in 3 of the patients with ages between 15 and 34 who were hospitalized for a stroke had high blood pressure. That is uncommon for their age.

Symptoms You Should Look For

It seems that more and more women suffer of strokes after pregnancy as well. The reason for that is the fact that many of them suffer from high blood pressure before being affected by the hormonal changes. Regardless of the age, anyone who develops stroke symptoms needs emergency care. The most common symptoms are: sudden numbness in face, arm or leg, in the majority of the cases on one side. Another symptom is the difficulty of speaking or understanding speech. Seeing and walking problems might occur as well.

Usually the young people ignore these symptoms because they are unaware of them. If they ignore them too much, twice or trice, they might suffer irreparable damage.

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