The rate of stroke occurring in fit, young people is on the rise. Learn why and how to reduce your risk.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Surprisingly, as much as 25% of stroke patients are under the age of 65 years, and some statistics refer to approximately 10% under 45, especially in the case of ischemic stroke.
Who’s at risk?
Risk factors for stroke are greatly affected by lifestyle choices. Most strokes that occur under the age of 45 are associated with:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Football, soccer or surfing where the head is often struck by a projectile
- Racquet sports, golf or other activities that feature sudden neck movements
- Rock climbing or high-risk activities that can lead to hazardous falls
What are the signs of stroke in young people?
A misdiagnosis can happen because doctors expect that someone under 45 is less likely to suffer from stroke. Symptoms can be genuinely misleading and, to make matters worse, CT scans can’t always detect a stroke if it’s performed too soon.
One fact that distinguishes young stroke patients from older ones is that their symptoms tend to appear very abruptly. Many strokes are painless, so watch for:
- Headache which may increase in severity
- Numbness or weakness, especially in one side of the body
- Dizziness or poor walking skills
- Language or comprehension difficulty
- Vision problems
Always remember the classic FAST symptoms: problems with facial and arm muscles as well as speech.
What should I do if I experience these symptoms?
Request a complete set of tests by a neurologist. Trust your own instincts; it could save your life.
Learn to recognize the signs of stroke regardless of age. Central Florida Regional Hospital’s Primary Stroke Center provides expert acute care and rehabilitation. Questions or concerns? Call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-800-445-3392.
Act F.A.S.T. and Know the Signs of Stroke