Monday, February 14, 2011

Strokes hit young people in rising numbers

A repeated message from this blog is that strokes can hit both young and old. While the stereotypical stroke patient is an elderly man, every group faces that risk.

It was especially brought home by recent research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that ischemic strokes increased among teens and children:
"We cannot link anything in particular to the trend in younger patients, but I believe the role of obesity and hypertension will prompt a big discussion. Unfortunately, right now we can't speculate on the causes," said [Xin] Tong, a health statistician with the CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in Atlanta.

However, hospitals and physicians should be aware of the rising risk of stroke in young people, and the necessity to educate them about stroke symptoms, Tong said.

"Acute ischemic stroke is currently considered something that mostly happens to older people, but awareness of rising rates in the young is important or else tPA [tissue plasminogen activator] and other important stroke treatment may be unnecessarily delayed in younger patients," she said.
 For any age, everyone should take the stroke signs seriously and get help right away.

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