Study finds younger people getting strokes at faster rate
By USA Today
Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 6:18 p.m.
Younger people are getting strokes at a faster rate, and people under age 55 make up a greater percentage of all strokes, according to a study out this week in the journal Neurology.
The increase is an alarming trend because strokes in younger people translate to “greater lifetime disability,” said lead author Brett Kissela, a physician at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. While the study design does not explore reasons for the change, he says the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes in younger patients could be leading factors. Better detection through increased use of imaging might also explain the increase, he said.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also cause paralysis, and speech and emotional difficulties. Lifestyle changes and better management of risk factors with medication have led to overall lower rates.
Researchers looked at strokes in people ages 20 and 54 in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area during three separate one-year periods between 1993 and 2005. Only patients' first strokes were included.
They embarked on the study after noticing more young patients coming to hospitals with strokes.
Transient ischemic attacks or TIAs, with symptoms lasting less than 24 hours, were not included in the study's analysis of 923 cases.
•Stroke rates in those under 55 increased from 109 per 100,000 people in 1993-1994 to 176 in 2005.
•Average age of stroke patients fell from 71 in 1993-1994 to 69 in 2005.
•The rate among blacks 20-54 increased from 83 per 100,000 people in 1993-94 to 128 in 2005.
•The rate among whites increased from 26 in 1993-94 to 48 in 2005.
Experts say findings will change the way doctors think about strokes.
“This is a very disturbing trend and meaningful, strong data,” said neurologist Daniel Labovitz, Montefiore Medical Center, N.Y., who was not associated with the study.
“In older people, we're more likely to make the call (diagnosing a stroke). Both patients and doctors tend to think, ‘It can't be a stroke because the person is too young.' We all have to be on the lookout now. I will use this study as guidance.” The National Institutes of Health funded the study.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Taillon among 6 Pirates send to minor league camp
- Parking tickets in Downtown Pittsburgh spark outrage
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Penguins notebook: Beau Bennett returns to practice
- Starkey: Steelers know when to say goodbye
- Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg to be featured in TV series
- Pirates reserve outfielder Dickerson is also at home on soccer pitch
- Pitt looking to enhance profile at ACC tourney