Stroke Occurring in Younger Age Groups

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Thu, 08/01/2013

Being of a younger age no longer protects you from an increased risk of stroke. A 30 year study has found that stroke is occurring in younger patients (18-55 years old) than in years past. Contributing to younger patients’ risk include earlier onset of type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and highcholesterol. Specifically, there has been up to a 37% increase in hospitalizations due to ischemic stroke.1

As outlined in the study, there were differences in the type of stroke and mortality rate of younger stroke patients versus the older stroke patients. The study found that younger patients had a higher risk of death after their ischemic stroke. Also, because the stroke occurred at a younger age, the patients had a longer lifetime of compromised quality of life and healthcare costs.2

Ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. Most blockages are caused by a blood clot or plaque. A blood clot occurs when your blood is not moving through the veins. The body’s normal function is have your blood clot to heal wounds inside and to repair scratches, scrapes and cuts outside your body.

In patients younger than 55, it is rare for blood clots to form unless they received surgery or remained in the same position for long periods of time. A blockage caused by plaque is the result of fat buildup in blood vessels. This can cause a blockage or narrowing of vessels, reducing oxygen rich blood flow needed for cells and organs to work properly. Ischemic blockage breaks free from where it forms and travels to either the heart or brain.

Stroke remains the leading cause of adult disability but it is, in many cases preventable. Making healthy food choices for you and your family will reduce your risk of developing diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and keep your weight in check.

  1. George MG, Tong X, Kuklina EV, et al. Trends in stroke hospitalizations and associated risk factors among children and young adults, 1995-2008. Ann Neurol. 2011;70:713-721.
  2. Rutten-Jacobs LC, Arntz RM, Maaijwee NA, et al. Long-term mortality after stroke among adults aged 18 to 50 years. JAMA. 2013;309:1136-1144.