STROKE IS GETTING YOUNGER.
Worldwide, stroke is the second cause of death and third leading cause of disability. Stroke has been generally reported in older adults or elderly. However, recent publications report an increase incidence of stroke in young adults.
Although to define an age cut-off is challenging and sometimes arbitrary, previously published studies commonly define young adults as those younger than 45 or 49 years. It is important given the fact that stroke in the young has a relatively large economic impact by leaving victims disabled before their most productive years.
The detection of stroke has improved over time. Patients are more exposed to medical knowledge and have better attitudes toward seeking medical attention. The increasing use of brain MRI too, have led to better stroke diagnosis especially in patients presenting with minor or rapidly improving stroke symptoms.
Surprisingly, the leading causes of stroke in young and older adult are different. Cardiogenic cerebral embolus is one of the most common cause of stroke in young population. It happens when a blood clot originated from the heart breaks off, travels and blocks an artery in the brain. Brain tissues are deprived of oxygen, resulting in stroke.
Besides, as supported by several studies, a rise in high cholesterol among young adults contributes to younger stroke. Young adults who have family history of high cholesterol are more likely to develop this condition in their 20s or 30s. Having diabetes and especially unhealthy eating diet are also the culprit. High cholesterol increases the plaque along blood vessels, narrowing blood flow causing greater risk of stroke.
If you are someone who has family history of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes, extra care and effort are absolutely required in your eating and lifestyle habits. Avoid cigarette smoking. Carbon monoxide found in cigarette reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, while nicotine makes your heart beat faster and raises your blood pressure. Altogether, they increase your risk of stroke.
Do what you can control. Take up full responsibility of your health for you and those around you. Do not just let life happen to you, you have to make life happen.