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Thursday, March 28, 2024

Why Are Strokes Rising in Younger Adults? What to Know.

Posted By: Advancing Care

Medically reviewed by Elie Dancour, MD

Most strokes happen in individuals over the age of 65. However, about 10–15 percent of strokes occur in people under age 45, and that number is rising.

Experts say this is potentially due to the rise in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity among young people.

While strokes are still less common in younger people than older adults, strokes can and do occur at any age. It’s important to understand the signs and risks.

Why Are Strokes Rising in Younger Adults?

Stroke in young people

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted, either by a blockage (ischemic stroke) or by bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). It’s the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States.

The risk factors for stroke in younger adults may differ somewhat from those in older adults, but they can still include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Smoking, substance use, and a sedentary lifestyle can put younger people at greater risk of stroke.

The most common cause of stroke in young people is an injury to the artery in the neck (called an arterial dissection) which can be caused by some form of trauma, like a car crash or ski accident.

To prevent stroke, make sure you understand your risk factors, manage any underlying health conditions and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Remember the signs of stroke

The signs and symptoms of stroke in younger people are generally the same as those in older adults. To remember the signs of stroke, know the acronym “BE FAST.” Most importantly, call 9-1-1 immediately.

  • Balance loss
  • Eyesight changes
  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 9-1-1

What to know

Stroke in younger people may sometimes be mistaken for other conditions initially, which can delay diagnosis and treatment. Younger individuals may also not recognize the symptoms of stroke and attribute them to other causes, like migraine, stress, or fatigue.

Don't forget — prompt medical attention is crucial, as prompt intervention can minimize brain damage and improve outcomes. If you suspect someone is having signs of a stroke, make sure to BE FAST and call 9-1-1 immediately. WMCHealth offers comprehensive stroke care and we are here for you 24/7.