Up to 10 percent of Strokes Occur in People under Age 45

May 13, 2010

The news that Vice President Joe Biden's 41-year-old son has suffered a stroke is highlighting the problem of strokes in young people.

"Strokes can occur at any age," said Dr. José Biller of Loyola University Health System, author of the landmark textbook, " in Children and Young Adults."

Children and adults younger than 45 account for 5 percent to 10 percent of all stroke cases, Biller said.

"The impact of strokes can be devastating to young adults, their families and society," Biller said.

The quicker a patient is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. "But people don't think that children and young adults can get strokes," Biller said. "So family members often are slow to recognize strokes."

The incidence of stroke increases dramatically with advancing age. The incidence of stroke doubles each decade past 55 years of age. Half of all strokes occur in people older than 70 to 75 years, Biller said.

However, children and adults younger than 45 account for as many as 10 percent of all stroke cases. In developing countries, the proportion is even higher, with 20 percent to 30 percent of strokes occurring in people younger than 45.

There are notable differences in incidence, presentation, risk factors, and prognosis in stroke occurring in individuals younger than 45, compared with individuals older than 45. There are multiple causes of ischemic stroke, especially in young adults. Risk factors are extensive and diverse in this population.

A large proportion of strokes are preventable by controlling blood pressure, treating atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm) and stopping cigarette smoking.

Warning signs of stroke include sudden:

• Weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.

• Numbness or tingling of the face or one side of the body.

• Confusion or trouble understanding.

• Trouble speaking.

• Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

• Trouble walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination.

• Severe, unusual headaches.

If you experience stroke symptoms, call 911 immediately.

"Every second counts," Biller said. "Time is brain."

Explore further: Harmful drinkers would be affected 200 times more than low risk drinkers with an MUP

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Children can have recurrent strokes

Feb 24, 2010

Children can have strokes, and the strokes can recur, usually within a month, according to pediatric researchers. Unfortunately, the strokes often go unrecognized the first time, and the child does not receive treatment before ...

Stroke victims experiencing seizures more likely to die

May 19, 2008

Seizures may be a sign of significant brain injury, and may occur in patients that experience any type of stroke. A new study finds that stroke patients with ensuing seizures are more likely to die in the 30 days following ...

Recommended for you

Research looks to combat US Latina immigrant obesity

9 hours ago

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, comprising 16.7% of the population. Approximately one-third of Latinos are obese and are 1.2 times as likely to be obese compared ...

User comments : 0