Saturday, February 19, 2011

Strokes Affecting the Youth

According to HealthDay News, new reports from government research have shown that stroke hospitalizations are drastically increasing in children and adolescents while decreasing among older Americans. Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attended the International Stroke Conference to examine hospitalization data from 1994 to 2007. The data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample helped the researchers identify patients with a primary diagnosis of ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke, caused by a blood clot or clogged artery, was examined because it is more common than a hemorrhagic stroke, which is the result of a ruptured blood vessel. The researchers found an increase and decrease in stroke rates depending on gender and age. In men ages 15 to 34, the rate skyrocketed by nearly 51 percent and in females, the incidence of stroke increased by 17 percent. In boys five to 14 there was a 31 percent increase while in that same age category the girl’s rate increased by a 36 percent. However, for older adult males, stroke risks dropped by 12 percent, while women in the same adult age category (35-64) stroke risk decreased by 13 percent.
While the study did not directly state the cause for this increase of strokes within the younger American population, it did mention that experts point to the obesity epidemic and the increasing rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and experimentation with recreational drugs.
Awareness of this increase will hopefully lead to more exact reasons behind the higher risk of strokes for the youth. This study’s findings should encourage young people to see their doctors for regular checkups.

- Shannon Egan

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