Tuesday, June 18 2013, 08:08 AM MDT
Patients Treated For Stroke Getting Younger
(KUTV) Doctors are noticing an alarming trend in the patients they treat for stroke – they’re getting younger.
A stroke is sometimes referred to as a ‘brain attack’ and it can strike at any time.
Santo Rodriguez woke up in March and couldn’t move his left arm. By the time he got to the hospital, he could barely speak.
“I know what I was trying to say, but I couldn’t pronounce it,” Rodriguez said. “I told the nurse ‘I’m trying to say things to you and you’re not understanding me’.”
The doctor ran a few tests, but sent Rodriguez home.
But, later that night, he began feeling intense pains in his head. Rodriguez went to a different hospital where his doctor found he had suffered three strokes.
Rodriguez was only 46 years old at the time.
“If patients start having their strokes younger they will be left with many more years of having a disability,” said Dr. Aviva Lubin, Associate Stroke Director at the Lenox Hill Hospital.
New research from the American Academy of Neurology finds that in 2005, 19% of stroke patients were under the age of 55 – up from 13% a decade earlier.
Doctors believe the reason for the trend has to do with the increase in risk factors. More and more young people are obese and have diabetes and high cholesterol.
Rodriguez didn’t know he was diabetic until after his stroke – now he’s getting it under control with diet and insulin.
With a wife and five kids to support, the stroke was a frightening reality check. Seven months later, Rodriguez is slowly regaining strength in his arm – and mentally he’s nearly back to normal. He says he’s committed himself to a healthier lifestyle so he can be strong for his family for years to come.
During the ten year period covered in the study, the average age of stroke victims fell from 71 to 69.
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)