Stroke in Middle-Aged Adults on the Rise

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Mon, 02/11/2013

New data finds a dramatic increase in stroke in much younger people aged 20-54 years old.

Stroke has always been thought of as a devastating event that afflicts the elderly. Concerning new data however finds a dramatic increase in stroke in much younger people aged 20-54 years old.

A study of 1.3 million residents in the greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area found stroke jumped 12.9% between 1993-1994 and even higher (18.6%) from 1994-2005.1 The reason for the unexpected increase was unclear but the high rate of hypertension, high cholesterol,  increase smoking, diabetes and obesity. All known risk factors for stroke have been on the rise and are a suggested cause.

The majority of the strokes that occurred were called “infarct” strokes. Infarct strokes are caused by a blockage of blood flow to a tissue or organ caused by a blood clot. To reduce the risk of blood clot development, warfarin (or brand of warfarin such as Coumadin®) is often prescribed by physicians.

During the same study period the researchers found a decrease in stroke in white populations 55 years and older and in black patients 65 years or older.1 It was unclear whether the older population was receiving medication to control their stroke risk factors. Risk factors including obesity and diabetes were singled out as two risk factors more common in younger stroke populations. The authors cautioned their study had weaknesses which included, among others, an observational study design.1

Home INR monitoring will help improve your control of warfarin. More frequent testing, typically performed by patient self testing, is a valuable tool for detecting rises and falls in INR values and enable you to work with your clinician to make any adjustments to diet or medication dosing.2 Go to the Getting Started page for more information about testing your INR at home.

  1. Kissela BM. Age at stroke: temporal trends in stroke incidence in a large, biracial population. Neurology. 2012. 79: 1781-1787.
  2. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Decision Memo for Prothrombin Time (INR) Monitor for Home Anticoagulation Management (CAG-00087R) [Memorandum]. 2008. Baltimore, MD.


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