Actor Frankie Muniz’s stroke at age 26 spotlights an alarming health trend: Clinicians are seeing more young people having strokes without a clear cause.
Historically, stroke was considered a problem for the elderly and increased risk was associated with pre-existing hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart disease. Young adults who had strokes often had family histories of high cholesterol and hypertension, while others had strokes associated with trauma.
But strokes have increased slowly and steadily in people younger than 50. Often these patients maintain undiagnosed risk factors, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cigarette smoking. However, many young stroke patients harbor none of these risks, which make prevention even more difficult. Stroke in young people is a major concern given the quality of life lost and the impact on the victim’s dependents. Much more research is necessary to find ways to help prevent strokes and treat them in young as well as elderly patients.
Visit our main Web site to find a hospital in New York close to you or visit our Find a Physician tool to find a doctor best suited to your needs.