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Stroke rates up in younger patients

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A new study from the medical journal The Lancet has shown there seems to be an increase in the rate of strokes in younger patients.

Before getting into why this might be the case, it's important to know what a stroke is. A stroke is essentially a brain attack. It's a blockage in the brain arteries that disrupts blood flow to the brain.

Common symptoms associated with stroke include numbness in one arm or leg, weakness in one extremity and trouble talking, among others.

Now about the study, it showed that people ages 20-64 account for nearly one-third of all strokes. The majority of strokes still occur in the very old, but are now having an impact on the lives of many more young people.

The study was done over a 20-year period and researchers looked at data from around the world on strokes. What they found was that strokes increased in this age group from 25 percent prior to 1990 to 31 percent in 2010, a 25 percent increase in the raw number of strokes.

The big question is "why?" There are a myriad of answers. Some reasons are obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and lifestyle. These are all considered risk factors for stroke and must be identified early and modified.

As a nation, America is now more unhealthy than ever before. Obesity-related illness will likely cost the health care system over $150 billion this year alone and if current trends continue, obesity-related illness costs will double by 2030.

For more information on this important topic, tune in to WNCN Today Wednesday morning at 6:15 and watch Dr. Campbell's segment. The video will be posted here afterward.

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