"If you are young and have a mild stroke, chances are you will not receive rehabilitation services," Wolf said. "That does not mean that you do not have any impairments. It means that we as a health-care community are not doing a good enough job at detecting the more subtle deficits associated with mild stroke."
The health-care community needs to pay more attention to this trend in strokes, and begin to modify assessment and intervention strategies to meet the needs of younger, less neurologically impaired stroke patients, Wolf said.
"Right now, our services are heavily weighted toward assessment and intervention for motor impairments and preparing an individual with a stroke to return home," he said. However, "the younger working age stroke survivor has needs that go way beyond self-care, and he or she needs to be able to return to work and community roles," Wolf stated.
Dr. Richard Isaacson, an assistant professor of neurology and medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that while people may be having strokes younger, it is hard to know from this single study whether this is a trend throughout the United States.
Nevertheless, "this brings attention to the fact that stroke is not just a disease of old people, it's a disease of people as we age," Isaacson said.
He speculated that if a trend exists it could be due to risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. "People in their middle-age need to realize they need to control these risk factors," Isaacson added.
And he agreed that doctors need to do more to help younger people with mild strokes re-enter their lives.
"Neurologists do not obtain enough information to determine whether a patient will have difficulty with ret
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