Stroke risk factors increasing among young people, doctors warn

Strokes in young people are increasing, with adults as young as in their 20s are at risk. (Source: WAVE)
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 8:17 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE/Gray News) - Doctors are getting the word out that strokes are not something that just affects older adults.

Strokes in young people are increasing, with adults as young as in their 20s being at risk, according to health care professionals.

Norton Healthcare in Kentucky reports younger people are currently having risk factors for strokes that were previously associated with the older population, such as obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Women on birth control who smoke and experience migraines with aura are at a high risk as well, reported by WAVE.

Dr. Bryan Eckerle, a stroke neurologist from the Norton Neuroscience Institute, said if you think you or someone you know is having a stroke, get help immediately and call 911 and go to the hospital in an ambulance.

“One of the real tragic ironies of a stroke is that it’s usually not painful,” Eckerle said. “People with heart attacks have chest pain and difficulty breathing and get medical attention. Strokes are often painless, sometimes get ignored, written off, or people think it will pass on its own.”

Doctors also shared the following acronym “BE FAST,” highlighting symptoms of a stroke:

  • Balance — loss of balance, coordination, or dizziness
  • Eyes — having trouble seeing or change in vision in one or both eyes
  • Face — uneven smile or face looks uneven, droopy or is numb
  • Arms — one arm drops when raising both arms; numbness or weakness in one arm
  • Speech — trouble speaking; slurred or difficult speech
  • Time — note the time when symptoms start: Time lost equals brain lost.

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