Feature

Health scare of the week: Strokes and young people

New research suggests that strokes are increasing among people under the age of 45.

Strokes are usually seen as a threat to the elderly, but new research suggests that the risk is spreading to people decades younger. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, since 1994, stroke hospitalizations have actually declined among seniors while rising dramatically for those not yet 45. Men from 15 to 34 showed the most dramatic increase in stroke risk—a hike of 51 percent—while women’s odds went up the most in the 35- to 44-year-old age group, by 36 percent. “It’s definitely alarming,” American Heart Association president Ralph Sacco tells the Associated Press. Health experts point to the growing incidence of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes among younger Americans as a likely cause. Those same risk factors, said Lee Schwamm, a neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, could cause “a wave of cardiovascular disease in 10, 15, 20 years.”

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