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Strokes Rising Among Teens, Young Adults: CDC
Date:9/1/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Strokes are on the rise among teens and young people, a new government report shows.

The number of people aged 15 to 44 hospitalized for stroke jumped by more than third between 1995 and 2008, say researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase may be due partly to the increasing numbers of young people who have diseases such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes -- diseases usually associated with older adults, they added.

High blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are all risk factors for stroke, the researchers noted.

In the same 14-year period researchers noted a rise in stroke among youth, they discovered that diabetes, cholesterol and tobacco use "has also increased in adolescents and young adults experiencing stroke," said lead researcher Dr. Mary George, a medical officer in CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

"I was surprised to see the extent of cardiovascular risk factors in this young population," she said. The focus on controlling these risks has usually been among older adults, George said.

"We really need to encourage people to lead healthy lifestyles from the time they are very young," she said. "Stroke is largely preventable and eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, [and] avoiding tobacco and alcohol abuse can go a long way to prevent stroke."

The report was published in the Sept. 1 issue of the Annals of Neurology.

For the study, George's team used data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project to find people hospitalized for stroke.

They found almost one in three ischemic stroke patients 15 to 34 years old -- and over half of those 35 to 44 -- had high blood pressure.

In addition, one-fourth of the patients 15 to 34 years old who
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