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Increased Middle-Age Stroke Risk

Strokes are historically a health concern of the elderly, however, an alarming new study indicates that more first time strokes are occurring in middle-age. A study, published in the journal Neurology, tracked patients in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region. In the study, researchers focused on several year-long segments including July 1993- June 1994 and the calendar years of 1999, and 2005. The focus of the study was on patients with cerebral ischemia, intracerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage or stroke of unknown cause. While the incidents among white and black patients, ages 55 and up decreased, the incidence of stroke for ages 20-54 rose 18.6% between 1994 and 2005. In this time period, the median age for initial stroke experience dropped from 71.2 years to 69.2 years. Strokes earlier in life have given rise to a massive increase in healthcare costs and services. In addition, the loss of productive years of life due to stroke damage is equally alarming. The American Stroke Association reports that 80% of stroke occurrences can be prevented with lifestyle and diet changes, as well as regular visits to the doctor. It was found that many of the 20-54 age group were high-risk for stroke due to increased occurrences of smoking in comparison to the older generation. The rise in obesity and diabetes in younger adults is also suspect in the increase of stroke cases. Aside from adjusting lifestyle and reducing risk-factors for stroke, patients aged 20-54 are encouraged to visit their physician regularly and monitor both stroke and heart disease risk. Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in America, and can cause speech problems, emotional difficulties, and paralysis. The increase of first time strokes in middle-age could have a profound effect on our society if not addressed now. Sources: USA Today: Health Imaging: U.S. News/Healthday: MedPage Today:
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