The Rising Occurrence of Strokes in Younger Adults: What You Need to Know during National Stroke Awareness Month
Strokes are no longer a disease of the elderly and are increasingly affecting young and middle-aged adults. The American Stroke Association reports that the incidence of stroke among adults aged 49 and younger in the US has continued to increase over the past 30 years. Although it is not entirely clear why this is happening, experts suggest that health conditions that increase a person's risk for stroke are becoming more common in this age group. Risk factors for stroke include high LDL cholesterol levels, hypertension, vascular diseases, and diabetes. According to recent data, risk factors such as obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are on the rise among adults between the ages of 40 and 59.
A recent study published in the journal Stroke found an 11% overall rise in intracerebral hemorrhage strokes over a 15-year period, with the rise in cases highest in younger and middle-aged adults. Stroke is now the fifth-leading cause of death in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it is a leading cause of disability.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and researchers are spreading awareness of the increasing occurrence of strokes in younger adults. The month aims to educate the public about risk factors and prevention. Some things that people can do to prevent a stroke are to know their blood pressure numbers, stay active, not smoke or use tobacco products, and get regular check-ups. By exercising for at least 30 minutes daily and making changes to their diet, individuals can decrease their chances of experiencing a stroke. Roughly 80% of strokes are preventable if risk factors are addressed.
It is essential to recognize the signs of a stroke and act fast to minimize the impact. Time is critical after suffering a stroke, and loss of brain cells is determined by each minute that a stroke goes untreated. The phrase to describe the emergent nature of strokes is “time lost is brain lost. Every minute counts.” FAST is an acronym that helps recognize the signs of a stroke, and it stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911. The longer someone waits to treat a stroke, the more damage is done.
According to a 2020 study, almost 30% of adults under the age of 45 are unaware of the five most common symptoms of a stroke: numbness of the face, arms, or legs, confusion or trouble speaking, loss of balance, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, and severe headache. It is crucial to educate people on the signs of a stroke and act quickly to save lives.
In conclusion, strokes are no longer just a disease of the elderly and are increasingly affecting young and middle-aged adults. Experts suggest that health conditions that increase a person's risk for stroke are becoming more common in this age group. Preventative measures such as exercise, diet, and regular check-ups can help reduce the likelihood of having a stroke. It is essential to recognize the signs of a stroke and act fast to minimize the impact. Time is critical, and loss of brain cells is determined by each minute that a stroke goes untreated.
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