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Strokes in young people on the rise

11th October 2012

A British charity has warned the NHS could be placed under greater strain from strokes after a study suggested victims were becoming younger.

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The Stroke Association says the problem needs to be addressed now with lifestyle changes to ensure the health service is not unnecessarily burdened with younger stroke sufferers who will need care over a longer period.

The warning follows research published in the American Academy of Neurology, which shows that one in five stroke victims are now below the age of 55.

The study followed 1.3 million people in a US region and found 19% of those experiencing a stroke in 2005 were in this age group, up from 13% in 1993.

Experts suggest such figures could be replicated this country because of similar lifestyles between the US and UK.

Dr Clare Walton from the Stroke Association said: “A stroke happens in an instant, but its effects can last a lifetime, leaving many with long-term severe disabilities.

“With the number of younger people having strokes increasing, greater strain will be placed on health services to support them with their recovery.

“This problem needs to be addressed now. In many cases, a stroke can be prevented and everyone can reduce their risk by making a few simple healthy lifestyle changes.”

University College London neurologist Dr David Werring said: “Stroke is usually considered a disease of older people, but this study reminds us that young people are also affected.”

But he added that changes in how stroke is detected during the study could explain some of the increase.

 

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