LOUISA, Kentucky, March 9, 2016 – While recent years have seen an overall decline in the number of strokes in the U.S., research published in the American Academy of Neurology Journal suggests the number of strokes among younger adults is actually on the rise, with about one in five victims now below the age of 55.
“Since the mid-1990’s, the number of strokes in younger adults has increased by approximately 53 percent,” said Dr. Mark Kingston, an Emergency Medicine physician. “This trend is alarming in the impact it has on young families, when a parent who suffers a stroke is often physically and economically disabled before or during their most productive years.”
Experts attribute several factors to the increased incidence of stroke in young adults, with the greatest focus around the issue of obesity. A study of more than 2,300 people in the Baltimore area indicated that obese young adults were 57 percent more likely to experience a stroke than their non-obese peers. Much of that increased risk might be connected to the co-conditions often tied to obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.
“Even though more than a half million young adults suffer annually from a stroke, 73% of those interviewed indicated they would NOT seek treatment at a hospital when faced with the classic symptoms,” said Dr. Kingston. “Nearly three in four stated they would opt to ‘wait and see’ if their weakness, numbness or impaired vision symptoms went away on their own. This is a lack of awareness that can lead to devastating results.”
Medical experts agree that medical treatment must be delivered for a stroke within three hours of the first symptom. This is the window during which treatment can minimize or even reverse brain damage. A lack of awareness results in patients that don’t seek immediate treatment. But to date, only limited public health and research efforts have been dedicated to addressing stroke in young adults.
The authors of one study suggest people should memorize the acronym “FAST”, which stands for: Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty; Time to Call 911.
According to the CDC’s map of stroke-related mortality by county, Lawrence County, Kentucky, is among the worst for deaths due to stroke in the U.S.
Many, though not all, strokes are preventable through simple but critical lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, ensuring a daily dose of physical activity, controlling blood pressure, controlling blood sugar if you are diabetic and refraining from smoking are considered the most effective means of avoiding the devastation of a stroke.
Here at Three Rivers Medical Center we take pride in our stroke patient care. When you come to the Emergency Room with signs and symptoms of a stroke, we will call a stroke alert and take you directly to CT in under 10 minutes. Then our emergency department will perform a neurological assessment, initiate our tele-stroke robot for consultation with a neurologist, and have your CT results read and in the physician’s hands within 45 minutes! No matter your circumstance, you will receive the best care here at Three Rivers.
To schedule an appointment with a physician who can help you craft a prevention plan, call (606) 638-9451.
About Three Rivers Medical Center
Three Rivers Medical Center is your community healthcare provider; a 90-bed acute care facility accredited by The Joint Commission. We believe in the power of people to create great care. We provide essential hospital essential hospital services and are proud to house an accredited Chest Pain Center and a Sleep Disorders Center. And we work hard every day to be a place of healing, caring and connection for patients and families in the community we call home. Three Rivers Medical Center, Healing Begins Here.
2485 Highway 644
Louisa, KY 41230