Strokes are becoming an increasing problem for people younger than 55, according to a study done by author Dr. Brett Kissela of the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues.
"We found trends toward increasing stroke incidence at younger ages," the authors wrote. "This is of great public health significance because strokes in younger patients carry the potential for greater lifetime burden of disability and because some potential contributors identified for this trend are modifiable."
The study examined roughly 1.3 million American adults, finding that the rate of first stroke among patients ages 20 to 54 rose from 12.9 percent in 1993 and 1994 to 18.6 percent in 2005.
The findings — published online in the journal Neurology — suggest that adults may want to begin monitoring their heart health at earlier ages, CBS reported.
The editorialists noted that stroke mechanisms differ in the younger population, where diabetes and obesity are rising in young adults and more common in black patients and other ethnicity groups, ABC News reported.
"If patients start having their strokes younger, they will be left with many more years of having disability," Dr. Aviva Lubin, director of the stroke division at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who was not involved in the study, told CBS News.
"The good news is that some of the possible contributing factors to these strokes can be modified with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. However, given the increase in stroke among those younger than 55, younger adults should see a doctor regularly to monitor their overall health and risk for stroke and heart disease," Kissela said.
Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News. She has lived in London and is an English graduate from Brigham Young University. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rachellowry.blogspot.com.