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Published on: October 11, 2012
by Harold Mandel for The Examiner:
Strokes can be a serious illness which can often be prevented. The National Stroke Association writes that up to 80% of strokes are preventable.
A stroke, or brain attack, is said to occur when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. Brain cells begin to die when either of these things happen. Abilities of speech, movement and memory which are controlled by that area of the brain are lost when brain cells die.
Cole Petrochko has reported for MedPage Today in an article on October 10, 2012: “Study: More Strokes in Middle-Age.” It has been suggested by data from a regional stroke registry that stroke may be shifting from a disease of the elderly to a midlife health concern.
According to Brett Kissela, MD, of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and colleagues, the rate of first stroke among patients age 20 to 54 jumped from 12.9% in 1993-1994 to 18.6% in 2005. Kissela and colleagues have said the increase in young stroke over that decade may be a reflection of a changing prevalence of stroke risk factors, which include hypertension, diabetes, and smoking, in younger patients.
In the study, stroke incidence was found to decline overall in white patients ages 55 and older and in black patients ages 65 and older. However, there were increases in black and white patient first stroke incidence among patients age 20 to 44 and age 20 to 54, which offset these declines.
The researchers have written that as would be expected, “the prevalence of stroke risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, CHD, and current smoking are all elevated in the younger stroke population compared with the population survey.” The researchers have noted that the reasons for the incidence trends were not clear, however, it was “possible that the trend toward younger stroke is related to changing risk factor prevalence.”
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