Stroke Strikes More Young Patients

Stroke rates increase for those under 35, decline for older adults

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It seems that old folks are passing something on to the younger generation, but it's somehting young folks really, really don't want; strokes!

While stroke rates are declining among middle-aged and older individuals, the numbers have skyrocketed for those under age 35, including teens and children, according to a new study.

A review of hospital data by age and gender by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates a decline in strokes among girls aged 0 to 4 years (a 51 percent decrease) and men and women over 45 (a 29 percent decrease).

However, ischemic (blood clot) stroke hospitalization has increased 17 percent in females aged 15 to 34; 31percent in boys 5 to 14; and 36 percent among women 35 to 44.

Xin Tong, M.P.H., a health statistician with the CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in Atlanta, said she believed this marked the first study to report findings stratified by age and gender.

Tong said researchers cannot speculate on the causes for such increases but believes obesity and hypertension in younger patients will prompt big discussions.

Ischemic stroke accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases, according to the American Stroke Association. Symptoms, which require immediate medical attention, include difficulty speaking or understanding speech (aphasia); difficulty walking; dizziness or lightheadedness (vertigo); and numbness, paralysis or weakness, usually on one side of the body.

Obesity has definitively been linked to health complications including stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, all of which burden America with billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs. Also, obesity negatively impacts America's ability to compete in the global market by costing billions of dollars in lost productivity each year.

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Review Date: 
February 11, 2011
Last Updated:
February 14, 2011