Here’s one of the scary new facts on strokes – the stroke occurrences are on the rise among young and mid aged Americans and at the same time going down for older adults. The sharpest increase was an alarming 51% in men between the ages of 15 and 34, followed closely by a 47% jump in men age 35 to 44.
The study was recently released by the American Stroke Association in February of 2011, based on research conducted in 1994-1995 and again in 2006-2007 for comparison. What researchers found, was that even though those over the age of 65 still account for the largest number of stroke cases per year, this affliction is no longer discriminating on the basis of age. Why the shift? Medical professionals believe the obesity epidemic has a lot to do with it. Dr. Ralph Sacco who is the president of the American Heart Association and a neurologist at the University of Miami took part in several health studies on this topic talked about how they had worried about the connection of childhood obesity and what effect it would have as these children grow into adults. . At UCLA Medical Center, doctors are seeing more strokes related to high blood pressure and clogged arteries in younger people according to Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of UCLA’s stroke center.
A stroke is a medical event where the brain is deprived of vital blood flow. It can be due to a blockage in an artery, a clot, a rupture in a vessel, or a lack of flow brought on by a heart attack. In all cases, symptoms present in what seems like an instant. A person may feel a sudden tingling or numbness in the extremities, followed by disorientation or a sense of confusion. Then, within seconds or minutes the symptoms can progress to muscle weakness, balance problems, slurred speech, blurred vision and even seizures.
With estimates suggesting that stroke is now the nation’s fourth leading cause of death, it’s worth sitting up and taking notice, particularly because mortality numbers don’t reflect the thousands of stroke victims that survive, but live with lifelong paralysis, decreased motor function and other crippling side effects. It’s good motivation for putting down the French fries and stepping up to the treadmill or elliptical. The excess fat doesn’t help your arteries and the salt only ups your blood pressure. Subbing out unhealthy behaviors for ones that lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of stroke both short and long term and help you not become a statistic on the facts on strokes that are plaguing younger people these days.