No matter what your age, this is why you should pay attention to stroke risk factors.
Strokes can happen at any age, although your risk of stroke increases as you get older. While people over age 65 account for the majority of hospitalizations due to stroke, more young people are having strokes than ever before.
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 have decreased among older adults. This is due in part to significant increases in stroke risk factors among this population, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and tobacco use. Rates of each of these risk factors are on the rise in young adults. Having 3 to 5 stroke risk factors has more than doubled in women under age 45 in recent years.
Many young adults don’t even know they’re at risk because they blow off screenings, thinking they’re not needed until they are older. The best way to reduce your chances of having a stroke is to get screened for common risk factors and to make healthy lifestyle choices that help prevent stroke. These include:
- Losing weight if you are overweight
- Managing your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Controlling your blood sugar if you have diabetes or prediabetes
- Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting sodium and saturated fat
- Participating in regular physical activity
- Not smoking
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Date Last Reviewed: August 21, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD