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How Strokes Occur at a Young Age

April 8, 2019 by

Every year, about 795,000 strokes occur in the United States. This serious health condition is often referred to as a brain attack– a heart attack in the brain. A stroke occurs when an artery or blood vessel becomes blocked by a blood clot, cutting off the circulation to the brain.

If this is not treated immediately, it can result in death. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death, killing around 142,000 each year. They also often lead to long-term disability. While it is mainly seniors who suffer from strokes, younger people can have them too. Between 1995 and 2012, stroke rates almost doubled for men between the ages of 18 and 44. Additionally, estimates suggest that 10% of all strokes affect people who are under the age of 50.

The death of Luke Perry has brought recent attention to the risks for having a stroke, especially among the younger generation. The truth is, 90% of strokes are preventable with the use of lifestyle changes to prevent conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, and sedentary behaviors. Vitamin D and magnesium may also play a factor in increasing one’s risk of having a stroke, and alcohol consumption in middle-age is a significant contributing factor. Some of the most powerful lifestyle changes to lower one’s risk of stroke include the cessation of smoking, reducing blood pressure, daily physical activity, and keeping a healthy diet and weight. In fact, even a modest change in lifestyle has a substantial effect on risk.

The best way to calculate your risk for having a stroke is to consider your genetic background, lifestyle, and the presence of subclinical conditions. Making healthy choices is the best approach to lowering one’s risk of stroke.

90% of strokes are ischemic strokes, which happen when there is an obstruction in a blood vessel that supplies blood to your brain. About 15% of these strokes happen in young adults. Alternatively, the less common hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures.

Strokes often occur without warning, and the longer you wait to get treatment, the longer your brain goes without oxygen. Emergency medications are critical to reduce the amount of damage that occurs and can dissolve the clot that is blocking the blood flow.

It is important to get help within three hours of having a stroke. Common symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, face drooping, typically on just one side, confusion, trouble seeing, dizziness, severe headache.

Mini=strokes can occur, in which case it is important to pay attention to these symptoms. Even though they are short, it is important to get a mini-stroke checked out to make sure there is not an underlying condition that could lead to something greater.

The risk factors for stroke for people under 50 are different from those who are older. These include arterial dissection leading to a blood clot, which can occur after sudden neck movements, a hole in the heart, blood clots, heart defects, narrowing of the arteries, aneurism, and even deficiencies in vitamin D and magnesium.

It is best to take preventative measures to keep yourself from having a stroke. Many of the same risk factors that increase one’s risk of heart disease also increase the risk of having a stroke, including high blood pressure, obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. It is important to eat a healthy diet and get exercise on a regular basis in order to stay healthy and reduce your risk of suffering from a stroke. It is important to eat real foods and limit your consumption of sugar and preservatives. Also, try to eat organic as much as possible.

You also want to avoid drinking “diet” soda, as research shows that that drinking just one diet soda each day can increase your risk of having a stroke by almost 50%. Also, make sure to take magnesium and vitamin D supplements.

Just like it is important to get medical assistance as soon as possible when you are suffering a stroke, it is equally as important to take the proper steps to heal your brain after having a stroke. This will make your recovery faster and more complete.

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