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Younger People at Risk of Stroke, Study Reveals

Update Date: Oct 11, 2012 09:13 AM EDT
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Due to a the rising rates of obesity and all medical complications related therein (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure etc.) researcher now reveal that strokes may be affecting people younger and younger.

For the study, researchers looked at occurrences of strokes in people between the ages 20 and 54 in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area during three separate, one year-long periods between July of 1993 and June of 1994, and the calendar years of 1999 and 2005.

Only first-time strokes were included in the analysis.

The study found that while the average age in which people suffered a stroke was 71-years-old in 1993 the age has since lowered to 69. What was more disturbing, the researchers note, was that as of today strokes among people under 55 made up a greater percentage of all strokes over time, growing from about 13 percent in 1993-94 to 19 percent in 2005.

The study also adds that the rate of strokes have increased dramatically among both young African-Americans and Caucasians, increasing from 83 per 100,000 to 128 per 100,000 for American blacks and almost doubling from 26 strokes per 100,000 people to 48 for Whites.

Study author Brett Kissela, MD, MS, with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology says that "The reasons for this trend could be a rise in risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol...regardless, the rising trend found in our study is of great concern for public health because strokes in younger people translate to greater lifetime disability."

However, adds the author some of the possible contributing factors can be modified with life change. Eating more red fruits and vegetables and being more active could dramatically reduce chances of getting a stroke and particularly at a young age. He also advises high risk stroke patients to visit a doctor regularly. 

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