Research suggests 20% of stroke victims under the age of 55
Experts have warned that the number of people under the age of 55 who are suffering from strokes is increasing according to a new study.
Analysis of the data, taken from two US states, suggests that between 1993 and 2005, the average age of stroke victims fell from 71 to 69.
The incidences of strokes in those under the age of 55 rose from 13% to 19% in the same period.
Scientists believe there are various factors leading to the rise, including better, faster and more accurate diagnoses.
One neurologist said: “This is a very disturbing trend and meaningful, strong data… In older people, we’re more likely to make the call (of stroke). Both patients and doctors tend to think, ‘It can’t be a stroke because the person is too young.’ We all have to be on the lookout now.”
Author of the study, Brett Kissela, of the University Of Cincinnati College of Medicine agreed, saying: “Other factors, such as improved diagnosis through the increased use of MRI imaging may also be contributing.”
However, he went on to attribute some of the blame to other factors, including higher cholesterol levels, increases in diabetes and higher rates of obesity.
The new figures are causing great concern to scientists and doctors. Research communications officer at the Stroke Association, Dr Clare Walton, said: “This is particularly worrying given the proposed cuts to the NHS and social care which could seriously impact on patients’ life after stroke. A stroke happens in an instant but its effects can last a lifetime, leaving many with long-term severe disabilities.”