A new study suggests that strokes may be impacting individuals at a younger age. According to an American Academy of Neurology (AAN) news release, during the study researchers assessed the occurrences of strokes in individuals based in greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area between the ages of 20 years old and 54 years old. The study was reportedly conducted during 3 separate, year-long periods between July 1993 and June 1994, and the calendar years of 1999 and 2005.
The results indicate that the average age of individuals who sustained strokes decreased from age 71 years old in 1993 and 1994 to age 69 years old in 2005. Researchers add that the study determined that strokes among individuals under the age of 55 years old comprised the greatest percentage of all strokes over time, increasing from 13% in 1993 to 1994 to 19% in 2005. The results also suggest that the stroke rate in young individuals heightened in both African-Americans and Caucasians, from 83 strokes per 100,000 people in 1993 to 1994 in African Americans to 128 per 100,000 in 2005, and in Caucasians from 26 strokes per 100,000 people in the years of 1993 to 1994, to 48 per 100,000 in 2005.
Brett Kissela, MD, MS, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio, fellow of the AAN, notes that while some of the potential contributing factors can be modified with lifestyle changes, “given the increase in stroke among those younger than 55, younger adults should see a doctor regularly to monitor their overall health and risk for stroke and heart disease,” Kissela says.