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Stroke Risks In Young People And How to Identify Stroke-Like Symptoms

Stroke is usually thought of as something that happens in older people, but that doesn’t mean adults in their 20s, 30s, or 40s are too young either. In fact, an increasing number of not-so-middle-aged people are having strokes as well. Several factors can cause stroke in both the young and old, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, but certain lifestyle habits can increase the risk in younger adults as well. 

Strokes in children most often happen within the first month after birth. These are sometimes called perinatal or neonatal strokes. Most perinatal strokes occur during delivery or right after delivery when the baby doesn’t get enough oxygen while traveling through the birth canal. However, strokes that affect older kids and teens usually are caused by another condition that stops the flow of blood to the brain or causes bleeding in the brain.

Pixabay/ Pexels | In 2018, 1 in every six deaths from cardiovascular disease was due to stroke

Types of stroke 

Ischemic strokes happen when blood flow is blocked through an artery that delivers blood to the brain. These strokes account for the vast majority of all strokes. Transient ischemic attacks, which are sometimes called “mini-strokes,” are different from ischemic strokes because these strokes block blood flow from the brain for a short period of time only, often, as short as five minutes. Like ischemic strokes, these strokes are also often caused by blood clots. 

Although these are short-lived, transient ischemic attacks warn of future strokes and are medical emergencies. More than a third of people who experience these do not receive treatment and have a major stroke within a year. A hemorrhagic stroke is another type of stroke, which occurs when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. The leaked blood puts pressure on brain cells and damages them.  

MART PRODUCTION/ Pexels | High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and is the main cause for increased risk of stroke among people with diabetes.

How to control stroke risks 

Although having an underlying heart condition is out of your control, several studies have shown that many of the risk factors that make someone susceptible to a stroke later in life, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity, are becoming more common in younger people. 

Obesity has become an increasing factor since the percentage of obesity has prominently risen in children and teens in America. Obesity increases the risks for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes; therefore, it is important to eat healthy, fresh and unprocessed food and avoid drinking sugary beverages that are associated with risks of cardiovascular diseases. You should also control your salt intake and control your high blood pressure, which is another leading cause of stroke. 

Symptoms

When it comes to stroke, the most common symptoms are the same no matter your age group. To quickly assess if someone is having a stroke, remember the warning sign acronym BE FAST, which stands for:

B: Balance – Watch out for a sudden loss of balance or coordination.

E: Eyes – Note any vision loss in one or both eyes, or double vision.

F: Face – People who are having a stroke commonly experience their face drooping on one side. Trying to smile is a good test.

A: Arm – Note any sudden weakness in one arm or leg

S: Speech – Sudden loss of speech or slurred speech

T: Time – If you have any of these symptoms, even if they go away, you need to go to the hospital.

A severe, sudden headache that is unlike any other headache you’ve had could also be a sign of a stroke.

Jonathan Borba/ Pexels | Goal setting is a powerful way to help motivate stroke survivors

Strokes can have devastating long-term impacts on people’s health and wellbeing regardless of their age. It is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States. The severity of a stroke can depend on factors like the size of the damaged area in the brain and where the stroke occurs in the brain.

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