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Research shows prevalence of strokes in younger patients

A common misconception with strokes is that the episodes only happen to older patients. However, new research is suggesting that the events are becoming more common in younger people.

According to findings published in the American Academy of Neurology, younger patients between the ages of 20 and 54 may need stroke treatment due to their overall poor health.

Looking at stroke data in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region, the authors found that the average age of people who experience a stroke decreased from 71 years old in 1993 to 69 years old in 2005. Additionally, by 2005, people under the age of 55 who had a stroke accounted for 19 percent of total reported cases.

"The reasons for this trend could be a rise in risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol," said study author Dr. Brett Kissela, with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "Other factors, such as improved diagnosis through the increased use of MRI imaging may also be contributing."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is currently the fourth cause of death in the U.S.

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