Unhealthy lifestyle choices are believed to be the reason for an increase of strokes that are affecting a younger-trending demographic is the US, BBC News is reporting.
Hospital discharge data on up to eight million patients per year between 1995 and 2008 was used to identify patients hospitalized for ischemic stroke. Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), report in the Annals of Neurology that stroke rates in 15 to 44-year-olds rose by about a third in under 10 years.
“We identified significant increasing trends in ischemic stroke hospitalizations among adolescents and young adults,” said Mary George, M.D., M.S.P.H., lead author of the study and a medical officer with CDC´s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.
“Our results from national surveillance data accentuate the need for public health initiatives to reduce the prevalence of risk factors for stroke among adolescents and young adults. Urgent public health initiatives are needed to reverse trends in modifiable risk factors associated with stroke in adolescents and young adults.”
The report continues by saying the prevalence of hypertension, obesity and tobacco use had increased in stroke patients and more than half of 35 to 44-year-olds who had an ischemic stroke also had hypertension.
Dr. Lorna Layward, from the Stroke Association in the UK, explained to BBC News, “People usually associate strokes with older people, but a quarter of all strokes happen to people of working age, and around 400 children have a stroke every year in the UK.”
“We know that high blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke, along with other factors such as obesity, diabetes, poor diet and smoking. This research emphasizes the need for people to be aware that stroke can affect younger people, and for all of us, regardless of our age, to check our blood pressure and adopt a healthy lifestyle.”
The authors advised that adolescents, their guardians, and young adults can help avoid stroke by preventing and controlling hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol by eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and foods low in sodium and saturated fat. Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity; and smoking cessation is also strongly recommended.
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