The rate of stroke in young people is something to be really worried about. When one talks of stroke, it is believed to be predominantly old people who are involved even though it can affect all ages.
Recent data has demonstrated an increase in the number of people below the age of 45year coming down with stroke.
Basically, there are two types of stroke;
- Ischemic stroke – It is the most common type of stroke(approximately 80%). It results from artery-blocking blood clots that travels to the brain
- Hemorrhagic stroke – It is less common type of stroke. It occurs when blood vessels in or around the brain ruptures
Causes of stroke in young people
Factors that can increase one’s risk of stroke are smoking, heavy consumption of alcohol, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Though these holds true for both older and younger people, the most likely to cause of stroke in young people are;
- Heart conditions that can predispose to cardioembolic strokes such as arrhythmias, congenital structural defects of the heart, valvular heart diseases
- Aneurysms which can form when the wall of a blood vessel weaken and form bubbles that can rupture(burst open), causing hemorrhagic stroke
- Hematological (blood) disorders – inherited conditions that predispose to blood clot e.g antithrombin lll deficiency, sickle cell anemia, among others
- Kidney diseases – Example is the polycystic kidney disease which can be hereditary
- Dissections(artery tear) – this can result from trauma, and connective tissue disorders
- Pregnancy – this increases coagulability of blood by increasing the amount of clotting factors.
- Drugs – Certain drugs whether prescribed or illicit may precipitate ischemic stroke. An example is cocaine
- And many other conditions
Need For Concern
Aside the above mentioned risk factors or causes of stroke, young people have been noted to have a poor health habits.
Young people are less likely to accept the diagnosis illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
They are less likely to turn up for a follow up and often believe because they are young, they cannot be sick of certain illnesses.
The way forward ?
Weight measurement – knowing what your weight is and taking appropriate lifestyle changes would help prevent possible overweight and obesity
Blood pressure check at least once yearly or more as the Case might be – To ensure it is within normal range and to take appropriate action by seeing your doctor when it is noted to be high.
Lipid profile/cholesterol profile – yearly check of cholesterol profile to help monitor the values would help reduce risk associated with hypercholesterolemia
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle such as regular exercise, cutting off or reducing alcohol consumption, ceasation of smoking, eating healthy, having quality sleep, would improve your well being significantly
Getting the needed vaccinations is key to preventing many illnesses especially infectious diseases
The rate of stroke among young people could drop if everyone can be more in control of their health.