Stroke Risk Factors—Why Younger People Are Having Strokes


Stroke Risk Factors—Why Younger People Are Having Strokes

It used to be that only people over the age of 65 needed to worry about having a stroke. But a study published in the journal Neurology has found reported that 15% of all strokes are now occurring in people between the ages of 15-44. They also reported that hospital discharges for stroke patients in this age range rose from 23% in the 1995/1996 to an alarming 53% in 2007/2008.

Why Are Strokes On the Rise Amongst Younger People?

Most strokes (85%) are ischemic and people are developing risk factors for ischemic strokes at younger ages. These risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. There is also recent evidence showing that blood viscosity increases (thickens) with exposure to EMF technology, including cordless phones, cellular phones, and Wi-Fi. This may be a contributing factor to the thickening of the blood that can lead to a heart attack or stroke in young people.

The other problem is that in young people stroke symptoms are often missed, delaying critical treatment.

If You Suspect Someone Is Having a Stroke, Ask Them to Smile

For the best outcome, you want to seek treatment right away. If you think someone may be having a stroke, just remember the first four letters of the word “stroke” by asking these four things:

  • S: Ask the person to SMILE. If one side of their mouth droops, that can signal a stroke.
  • T: Ask him or her to TALK and speak a simple sentence coherently.
  • R: Ask the person to RAISE both arms.
  • O: Ask him or her to stick OUT their tongue, which should be straight.

If the person has trouble with any of these tasks, you want to call 911 immediately.

Finally, to illustrate just how important it is not to dismiss stroke symptoms, I wanted to share a little story. Years ago a friend took a tumble at a barbecue. While others wanted to call the paramedics, she just shrugged it off that her new shoes had caused her to trip. Later that night, she was taken to the hospital where her stroke was diagnosed and unfortunately she couldn’t be saved.

But with early treatment the damage can be greatly mitigated. So, when in doubt seek medical attention immediately.

Now it’s your turn: Do you know a young person who has had a stroke?

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  • Aneesh B. Singhal, MD et al. Neurology 2013.

DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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