Home / Increasing Incidence of Strokes in Young and Middle Aged Adults
Several studies over the past several years have shown an increase in strokes among those ages 20 to 54 years old according to Dr. Steven Reisman, Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, and a leading Cardiologist in New York City.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops and there is a decrease in oxygen supply to the brain and brain cells die. The symptoms of a stroke can occur suddenly and without any warning and the symptoms depend on which part of the brain is damaged. These symptoms can include a sudden headache, change in vision, muscle weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, loss of balance and coordination, and other neurologic symptoms.
The number one risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure or hypertension. The other risk factors include:
In young adults and those in middle age, another factor can also be a congenital small hole in the heart from birth called a patent foramen ovale (PFO).
In young patients frequently there is found one of these causes such as hypertension, smoking, and occasionally a PFO. In addition, the increasing incidence of a stroke may partly be related to improved medical technology and the increased adoption of MRI as a diagnostic tool to identify strokes in young people.
This increasing incidence of stroke should serve as a warning for young adults and middle-aged individuals to improve their lifestyle and early diagnosis of risk factors.
Dr. Steven Reisman, a New York City Cardiologist and Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center advocate early diagnosis of risk factors for stroke including blood pressure evaluation, blood testing, and potentially echocardiography and carotid ultrasound in prevention.