Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Myth: Strokes only happen to the elderly

Are you under 50? Under 40? Under 30?

So you shouldn't worry about strokes, right?


It happened to me at age 39. Follow this link and you'll find stories and studies showing that even people in their 30s and younger can be affected.

There are a variety of causes - mine, as best the experts can tell, came about because of a now-fixed heart defect called a patent foramen ovale. Others fall in to the risk groups because of preventable - smoking, for example - factors and genetic predisposition of, say, high cholesterol.

At any age, you need to be aware of stroke risk factors, signs and symptoms.

One recent story about strokes and younger populations:
Studies increasingly show that devastating and chronic health conditions and the risk factors associated with them are reaching an ever-younger population, says Doug Van Houten, R.N., clinical coordinator of Washington Hospital’s Stroke Program.

"Younger and younger people are being affected by chronic health issues," he says. "The way to treat all these devastating conditions is that we need to start encouraging people at a young age, as young as elementary school, to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular physical activity and better food choices."

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