Posted on Nov 07, 2012, 6 a.m.
Regional (US) stroke registry data suggests that stroke may be shifting from a disease of the elderly to a mid-life health concern.
Stroke risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and current smoking are becoming increasingly more prevalent among people in their 30 and 40s. Brett Kissela, from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio), and colleagues analyzed data from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke study – a regional stroke registry including data from 1.3 million adults, to ascertain the age at which strokes most often occur today. The team observed that the rate of first stroke among patients ages 20 to 54 years rose from 12.9% in 1993-1994 to 18.6% in 2005. The majority of strokes in the younger population were caused by infarcts. The proportion of first strokes caused by infarcts rose over the study period from 56.8% to 65.7% in patients ages 20 to 44, but that increase was not statistically significant. Observing that: “We found trends toward increasing stroke incidence at younger ages,” the study authors warn that: “This is of great public health significance because strokes in younger patients carry the potential for greater lifetime burden of disability and because some potential contributors identified for this trend are modifiable."
Brett M. Kissela, Jane C. Khoury, Kathleen Alwell, Charles J. Moomaw, Daniel Woo, Opeolu Adeoye, et al. “Age at stroke: Temporal trends in stroke incidence in a large, biracial population.“ Neurology, October 10, 2012.