Strokes Rising Fast Among The Young And Middle-Aged
Among the young, strokes are dramatically rising in numbers while dropping for the elderly. This could be one of many signs that the obesity epidemic is burdening younger people with diseases unfamiliar to their age group.
The American Stroke Association reported on Wednesday that following research studying hospitalizations, a growing number of young people are suffering strokes. They had compared data from 1994 and 1995 studies to data from 2006 and 2007.
The biggest increase seemed to be among men between 15 to 34 years old. For women, the increase was present but not as great, only 17 percent.
American Heart Association president and a neurologist at the University of Miami, Dr. Ralph Sacco said that the new information was alarming. He said that for a long time, he and his colleagues had been worried about the growing problem of obesity in young people and the fact that it could lead to such cardiovascular and neurological problems. He added that the new data they are seeing confirms their fears.
Strokes are still more common among older people. Out of 10,000 hospitalizations, 300 were strokes in people over 65. For younger generations, males between 15-34, the numbers were 15 out of every 10,000 hospitalizations and for women and younger girls, the figure was 4.
Several smaller studies had concluded that strokes were indeed on the rise among young people.
Dr. Mary George, a stroke investigator, wanted to find out if her small scale studies could be repeated with similar results on a nationwide scale.
Her team analyzed federal records going back to 1994 and 1995 which covered over 8 million cases in 41 states. The study followed the percentages of hospitalization for each age group.
They found that between 1995 and 2007, percentages of stroke cases rose by 51 percent for males between 15 and 34, 17 percent for females between 15 and 34, 47 percent for males between 35 and 44 and 36 percent for females between 35 and 44.
George said that the fact that young generations are suffering more strokes deserves much more research and attention. She also said that the percentage growth of strokes among children is modest.
For George, it is unclear if modern imaging techniques or better understanding of stroke symptoms are to blame for the apparent rise in numbers. She says it’s impossible to tell.
In older people, apparently, the trend shifted the other way. The rates dropped by 25 percent from 404 cases of stroke in 10,000 hospitalizations to 303 for older males and 28 percent for women in the same age group, from 379 to 274 cases of stroke in 10,000 hospitalizations. Doctors think that the decline in rates could be due to better prevention and treatment of risk factors such as blood pressure issues.
Doctors at the University of California in Los Angeles, are reporting more strokes among young people due to high blood pressure and clogged arteries.
Dr. Jeffrey Saver, directer of the Stroke center at UCLA, said that early estimates based on death certificates, suggest that stroke has become the fourth major cause of death in the USA, moving down from third place, in part due to better prevention and treatment among the elderly. Saver also said that, despite the decline in stroke for the elderly, there was an ironic rise in stroke numbers for the youth.
A nurse at the UCLA stroke center, Allison Hooker, said that other major causes of stroke among younger people are smoking, alcohol overuse and diabetes. She said that most of the stroke cases they are seeing are people of 50 or younger who are having devastating experiences.11