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More children at risk of stroke

Raising a child is difficult enough without the need to worry about things that traditionally carry off older folks but a new study tells us that there is a marked increase in the number of life threatening strokes affecting kids.

According to an article dated September 2, 2011 in Medical News Today researchers have uncovered several surprising facts including that strokes in children, teens and young adults are increasing at an alarming rate here in the United States.

According to the article, data studied from 1995 through 1996 shows an increase of risk of 51% for boys between the ages of 5 to 14 followed by men from 35 to 44 at 50% increase and young men of 14 to 34 at a 46% increase. Women fared little better.

Women studies between the same dates showed an increased risk of just 3% for girls aged 5 to 14, 23% for 15 to 34 year olds and adults from 35 to 44 at 26%.

Mary G. George, MD, MSPH, and colleagues from the CDC comments, "The increase in the stroke hospitalization rate from 1995 to 2008 was 30% to 37% higher" among those aged 15-44. In the young adults and adolescents, we were surprised to see that large of an increase. Seeing this in a young population really underscores the need for adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyles from the time they are very young." She continues, "We found significant increases in high blood pressure, lipid [cholesterol] disorders, diabetes, tobacco use, and obesity ... things we consider traditional risk factors."

Lee Schwamm, MD. vice chair of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School said, "The increasing incidence of [heart] disease risk factors in young patients is very concerning."

The good news is that although anyone can have a stroke regardless of age, race or gender there is an 80% chance of prevention simply by understanding your risk factors and speaking to your health care professional about prevention and management.

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