Strokes are often thought of as something that only happens amongst older people — but recent research has pointed to their increased frequency amongst young adults. And new research from Scientific American has found that your chances of having a stroke could even have something to do with where you live.
Using data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Scientific American had five stroke experts review the information, and found that the West and Midwest of the U.S. have seen startling increases in strokes for young adults.
A stroke is described as a medical emergency which occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off, causing brain cells to be deprived of oxygen and die. When that happens, key functions such as memory and muscle control can be lost.
According to a study published earlier this month in JAMA Neurology, stroke hospitalization rates from 2003 to 2012 "significantly increased" for men and women aged 35 to 44 years.
Scientific American's research explored the geographic implications of these findings, and found that large cities seem to have seen bigger increases in stroke rates than rural areas did.
"I would have expected [the rates] to be more uniform across the country.” Ralph Sacco, president of the American Academy of Neurology, told Scientific American. "There has been mounting evidence from different studies suggesting that even though the incidence and mortality of stroke is on the decline, the rates may not be dropping quite as much—and even [may be] increasing—among younger populations."
According to the CDC, strokes are the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. That's not to say that you should constantly be concerned about dying of a stroke — but it's important to be aware that they can happen to anyone.
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