Stroke Affecting More And More Young Americans
September 4, 2013

15 Percent Of All Ischemic Strokes Affect Adolescents, Young Adults

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

At least half a million Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 have suffered a stroke, according to recently-published research appearing in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology.

According to Jose Biller, a neurologist with Loyola University Medical Center and a co-author of the study, and his colleagues, between 532,000 and 852,000 people in those age groups have suffered a stroke.

The investigators also report that 15 percent of the ischemic strokes (the most common type of strokes) occur in adolescents and young adults, Loyola University Health System said in a statement.

Furthermore, Biller’s team said that US hospital discharges for the condition among people between the ages of 15 and 44 increased 23-percent to 53-percent from 1995-96 and 2007-08, depending on the age and the gender of the group. Many other young people are also showing risk factors for these types of cerebrovascular accidents.

“The impact of strokes in this age group is devastating to the adolescent or young adult, their families and society,” said Biller, who is a member of an expert panel convened by the American Academy of Neurology to develop a report on the recognition, evaluation and management of ischemic stroke in preteens, teenagers and young adults.

A reported 85 percent of all strokes are ischemic, which means that they result from blockages preventing normal blood flow into the brain. A greater number of younger Americans have risk factors for ischemic strokes, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol levels, congenital heart disease and smoking.

“Strokes in young people have a disproportionally large economic impact, because they can disable patients before their most productive years,” the university said. They added that the report states that younger survivors could be in a position where they have to deal with “relationships, careers, and raising children – issues that require additional awareness and resources,” while also overcoming the shock of the transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Biller and his co-authors believe that there is an increased need to educate younger people about strokes – especially the risk factors and potential warning signs – in schools, at the workplace, in medical centers and through the media. More effort needs to be put into reducing “the increasing physical, emotional and financial burden strokes cause in young people,” the university medical center added.