Global Stroke Incidence Rate Rises Among Young People

A new global analysis on stroke burden published Oct 24th in the prestigious medical journal the Lancelot has revealed that the stroke incidence rate among young people is increasing at an alarming speed.  If steps for stroke prevention are not taken, that rate could double by 2030. We’re talking an estimated 12 million stroke deaths and 70 million stroke survivors worldwide!

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The Global and Regional Burden of Stroke

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global and Regional Burden of Stroke is a meta-analysis made up of 119 studies (from 1990-2010). Researchers discovered some disturbing trends in stroke incidence rate:

  • Stroke incidence has increased by 25% in people between the ages of 20 and 64
  • One-third of stroke victims are between the ages of 20-64
  • An estimated 80,000 children and young adults (under 20) suffer from a stroke each year

The study indicated that stroke incidence was highest in East Asia, North America, Europe and Australia. Incidentally, the lowest incidences of stroke were in Africa and the Middle East, but this may be because people in these countries die earlier in life of other causes and therefore aren’t as susceptible to stroke. People tend to succumb to stroke three to five years younger in low to middle-income countries. Overall, more accurate diagnosis and better treatment has lowered stroke death rates in developing countries by 37%.

The fact that stroke is affecting more and more young people has been pointed out time and time again by the American medical community. The stroke incidence rate is rising among the young and middle aged and decreasing in the elderly! This is in part due to adverse lifestyle practices such as smoking and poor diet that lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

The Scoop on Strokes

After heart disease, stroke is the leading cause of death. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation there are two primary types of stroke:

  1. Hemorrhagic: the most fatal of the types of stroke, hemorrhagic strokes are caused by the rupture of blood vessels in the brain
  2. Ischemic: occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain

Stroke patients suffer from droopy face, impaired speech and memory, and the inability to lift their arms. If stroke treatment is not immediate, long-term symptoms, such as paralysis, vision loss, and irreparable speech and memory problems take hold.

Stroke Prevention

Change your lifestyle and you decrease your risk of stroke by a whooping 90%! Researchers recommend quitting that nasty smoking habit, improving your diet and implementing exercise into your life.

Dr. Yannick Bejot, a physician at the University Hospital of Dijon in France, says, “Young people think stroke is only a problem of the elderly, but we need to educate them.” In the study’s accompanying commentary Bejot goes on to explain that using illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine also increases one’s risk of stroke.

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