Stroke cases of younger patients on rise

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- On average, a stroke happens in the United States every 40 seconds. While the risk of having a stroke increases after the age of 55, doctors say strokes can happen at any age.

For most young people, the chances of experiencing a stroke can seem remote. However, one neurologist at Mayo Clinic Health System said Tuesday there is no such thing as being too young for stroke.

"Going back to the 1990s and even the 1980s, the estimated frequency was about 10 percent of all strokes then were typically with people of a younger age - less than 55,” Felix Chukwudelunzu, a stroke neurologist, said to WEAU 13 News. “Over the last 10 years, we've seen that number increase to about 19 or 20 percent."

Chukwudelunzu said part of the reason for this may be younger patients are getting more of the bad habits and risk factors typically found from older patients, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

"I suspect it's due to multiple things – technology and awareness of a stroke, in general, and people coming in with symptoms along with the diagnosis being made along with the increase risk factors in the younger population," he said.

The American Heart Association outlines four points for seeing the signs of a stroke called "FAST” – F for face drooping, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulty and T for time to call 9-1-1.

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