Strokes increase among younger Americans

More children and young adults may be having strokes according to a new study. The study, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, showed an increase of up to 37 percent for a certain strokes among Americans aged 5 to 44. The research was published in the Annals of Neurology.

The study, examined stroke hospitalization data from a nationwide sample covering 1995 to 2008. It determined which were ischemic strokes, which are caused by blood clots, or hemorrhagic strokes, which result from bleeding on the brain. That data was then broken down into three age groups of 5 to 14 years, 15 to 34 years, and 35 to 44 years.

The research revealed an alarming increase in the number of hospitalizations from ischemic stroke for all three age groups. Those rates among 5-14 year olds increased 31 percent. Among those age 15 to 34 years the increase was 30 percent. For those age 35 to 44 years the increase was 37 percent. There was a greater increase in hospitalizations from stroke among males than females according to the study.

The study did show that the number of hemorrhage related strokes decreased slightly during the study period. But the decrease was not enough to offset the startling increases in hospitalizations from ischemic stroke.

There were a high level of stroke related risk factors among those in the study. Of the patients hospitalized for ischemic stroke, nearly one in three aged 15-34 and over half aged 35- 44 had high blood pressure. One-fourth of the patients aged 35-44 were diabetic. Other risk factors included smoking, obesity and lipid disorders.

“We identified significant increasing trends in ischemic stroke hospitalizations among adolescents and young adults,” said study author Mary George, M.D., of the 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.”

Prior studies report that strokes among adolescents and young adults account for 5 percent to 10 percent of all stroke incidences. Stroke is already one of the top 10 causes of childhood death and the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Most strokes are ischemic according to the researchers.

The study did not look at stroke incidence based on race or ethnicity. However, studies have shown the risk of stroke among blacks is almost double that of whites. Strokes also tend to occur earlier-in-life for Blacks: Between the age 20 and 44, the risk of stroke is about two-and-a-half times higher for Blacks than whites. Stroke is the third leading cause of death among Black Americans.

The researchers added that stroke risk can be reduced by preventing or controlling hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol, not smoking, a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Courtesy of Health Living News

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