The Medical Minute: Strokes on the Rise Among Young People
“I’m used to hearing that people in their 60s have strokes.” That’s why Lucy Alana Gnazzo was surprised to learn that she – at age 26 – had suffered a massive stroke. Lucy Alana had a cerebellar stroke, caused by a blocked blood vessel in the lower back part of her brain. She is among a growing number of young people to experience an ischemic stroke – the type caused by a blockage. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), the number of people 65 and older who were treated for ischemic stroke declined between 2000 and 2010. However, hospitalization rates for those younger than 65 rose, with an especially sharp increase in people between ages 25 and 44. “Many people are developing the standard risk factors earlier in life. They include high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol,” Reichwein said. He points to poor diets, more work-related stress and a more sedentary lifestyle among younger people. Smoking and excessive alcohol use can also heighten one’s risk.
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