Think you're too young to have a stroke?
Stroke can happen at any age. Here are ways to help prevent it from happening to you.
Although your risk of stroke increases as you get older and the vast majority of strokes happen to people over age 65, strokes can happen at any age. About 10% of strokes occur in people between the ages of 18 and 50 years old, and stroke can even happen in children and adolescents.
The number of people hospitalized for stroke between the ages of 15 and 44 has risen significantly in recent years, even as rates of hospitalization for stroke decreased among older adults. This increase points to the need for younger people to control stroke risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. It also highlights the importance of knowing the symptoms of a stroke and seeking prompt care. Rapid treatment following a stroke improves your chances of survival and reduces the possibility of permanent disability.
Lower Your Risk of Stroke
The best way to reduce your chances of having a stroke is to make the same healthy lifestyle choices that help prevent all other types of cardiovascular disease. This includes:
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes or prediabetes
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Choose foods low in sodium and saturated fat
- Participate in regular physical activity
- Don’t smoke
Know the Signs of Stroke
A stroke occurs when the blood supply is blocked to a part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Stroke symptoms come on quickly and, according to the American Stroke Association, often include:
- Vision and speech problems
- Numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body
- Dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
- A sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you observe any of these signs in a person, no matter what their age, call 911.