Did you know that stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in men? Are you aware that an increasing percentage of those deaths happen to young men? (For purposes of this article, the term “young” refers to men between the ages of 18 – 34 years old.) The rate of ischemic strokes (blood clots that block the flow of blood to the brain) have risen exponentially over the last 20+ years for men of all ages, but the most alarming statistics show a steady increase in strokes for men under thirty-five-years-old. For those reasons, researchers have begun to take an in-depth look as to the causes and/or correlations for that younger segment of men. Some have speculated (with some significant investigative evidence) that there are lifestyle-related factors that contribute to those numbers. Anything from leading a sedentary life to congenital issues and risky behavior may be significant factors to consider when looking at the prevalence of strokes in younger populations.
There is also a theory that those reported increases may not be actual increases at all. Some experts believe that the alarming numbers may due in large part to better diagnostic testing and better record keeping. The more data available now, the easier hospitalizations and/or death rates can be tabulated. Therefore, it can appear that the numbers of those affected have risen, when in fact, there may not have been any significant change at all, but as with any large-scale study, more information and data is needed to say with anything confidence one way or the other.
In addition to collecting information about patients after the fact, researchers have also focused their attention on studying risk factors and tracking how certain conditions correlate with the increase of strokes, and determining how to lessen the probability. For instance, conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, high cholesterol, and other potentially life-threatening conditions increase the probability of someone suffering a stroke.
One unique factor related to the increase in strokes for young men is due to simple lack of knowledge. Young people believe themselves to be invincible. That perceived invincibility causes them to ignore important warning signs. Most can be attributed to other things. Serious symptoms are often ignored or overlooked. Doing so causes critical delays in treatment. Often a young person will ignore those symptoms for too long and suffer irreparable damage because of it.
Medical professionals dictate that stroke patients must be treated within the first three hours after the onset of a stroke. Because young people tend to overlook symptoms, those ‘golden hours’ are missed, thus, making a recovery much more difficult for them. For this reason, it is imperative that people, young and old, learn to recognize the early warning signs of a stroke and, in turn, act quickly.
According to research, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every forty seconds. What no one ever stops to consider is that it can happen to a young person. They must be taught to recognize the symptoms to avoid suffering dire consequences as a result.
Symptoms to watch for include:
- Facial Drooping
- Arm Weakness
- Speech Changes
- Time to call 911
If you have a sudden onset of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Ignoring them may cost you your life.
By Lauren Kasis