Risk Factors and Stroke Rising Among Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mary G. George, MD, MSPH Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. George

Mary G. George, MD, MSPH
Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 of every 20 deaths—and costs the nation $33 billion annually, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

And, stroke is leading cause of serious disability. An ischemic stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, is a stroke that occurs when there is a blockage of the blood supply to the brain.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

• In 2011 and 2012, there were approximately 14,000 hospitalizations each year for ischemic stroke among those ages 35-44. That number rose to approximately 51,000 hospitalizations each year among those ages 45-54. Even among those ages 18-34, there were approximately 5,000 ischemic stroke hospitalizations each year.
• We found a 41.5% increase in hospitalization rates due to stroke among men aged 35-44 years from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012.Young adults, ages 18-54, are experiencing a small but sustained increase in ischemic stroke and in the prevalence of traditional stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lipid abnormalities, tobacco use, and obesity.
• Among those admitted for an acute ischemic stroke among the youngest age group, 18 to 34 years old, the prevalence of high blood pressure among males increased from 1 in 3 to 4 in 10, and increased from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3 among females. We found that 2/3’s of males and nearly 6 in 10 females ages 35 to 44 had high blood pressure, while about 3 out of every 4 ages 45 to 54 had high blood pressure.
• Here is a another key finding: we found that about 30% of males and females ages 35 to 44 had diabetes and about 40% of males and females ages 45 to 54 had diabetes.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Identifying the high and rising prevalence of stroke risk factors among young adults presenting with acute ischemic stroke should prompt a sense of urgency to promote and engage young adults in practicing healthy behaviors such as exercising on most days, eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoiding smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The impact of stroke is significant at any stage of life—it is uniquely complex when younger adults—in midst of careers, serving as wage earners, and caregivers may suffer disability that can impact their lives and the lives of family members and loved ones.
Our results stress the importance of prevention of stroke risk factors in younger adults. Up to 80% of stroke is thought to be preventable. Preventing and controlling stroke risk factors among young adults can save lives, reduce disability, decrease healthcare costs and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of people and their families.

The authors have no conflicts of interest and did not receive funding for this study.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


George MG, Tong X, Bowman BA. Prevalence of Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Strokes in Younger Adults. JAMA Neurol. Published online April 10, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.0020

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on April 10, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD