Stroke Risk Rising Among Young Adults

Many people were shocked to learn that Frankie Muniz had a stroke – at only 27 years old. But the truth is, stroke is occurring in young adults at a growing frequency.

NPR Shots yesterday broadcast an interesting report on strokes in younger people. According to the story, “the rate of strokes in Americans younger than 55 went up 84 percent among whites and 54 percent among blacks. One in 5 strokes now occurs in adults 20 to 55 years old—up from 1 in 8 in the mid-1990s.”

In addition to stroke risk increasing for this population, so is the risk for premature death. NPR spoke to Dr. Frank-Erik de Leeuw of Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands, who led a study that found risk of premature death is high for decades for people who have had a stroke.

According to the article, this means physicians  “should pay a lot more attention to these patients. They should make sure their blood pressure and cholesterol are under control, and work harder to get them to lose weight and stop smoking.”

Dr. de Leeuw also stresses the importance of follow-up care post- stroke—for a lifetime. “The risk is increased for decades after their stroke,” de Leeuw says. “So we can’t just send them back to their homes and say, ‘Well, we’ve seen you now for one or two times after your stroke — take care.’ I think that’s not possible anymore.”

You can read the full NPR article here.

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