Strokes in young adults are on the rise.
Experts consider a young stroke age as anyone younger than 45, according to Everyday Health.
Roughly 10 percent of strokes happen in adults’ ages 18 to 50, according to NPR.
“Even though the overall rate of stroke is decreasing, it is increasing for young and middle-aged people, those between 20 and 54 years of age,” according to Everyday Health.
The rate of stroke in young and middle-aged people increased from roughly 13 to 19 percent from 1999 to 2005, according to a study published in the journal Neurology, according to Everyday Health.
Nathan Tolman’s mom Carrie had a stroke at age 46, during the middle of teaching her high school band class.
“I asked myself if I was ready to live without my mom,” Tolamn, a junior studying pre-dental a BYU, said. “I thought about my dad and how he would handle it. And I thought about the rest of my family and how my mom’s potential death would affect our relationship. I guess you could say that my first though, was that she was going to die.”
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Tolman said the hardest part of the experience was not knowing for several days if his mom would be all right.
Strokes are caused when a blood vessel carring oxygen to the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot or bursts. This causes that part of the brain to die due to lack of oxygen, according to the American Stroke Association.
There are two kinds of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot blocking blood flow to the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel blocking blood flow to the brain, according to the American Stroke Association.
“We were lucky that her co-worker at her school knew the signs of a stroke and called the ambulance right away,” Tolman said. “If she would have been even a few minutes later, (my mom) would have suffered severe damage to her brain.”
Signs of stroke include face drooping, arm weakness and slurred speech, according to the American Stroke Association.
Having a stroke at a young age can lead to lifelong recovery and the loss of many constructive years, according to Everyday Health.
A survey conducted from 1995 to 2008 found an increase in the number of people ages 15 to 40 hospitalized for stroke, closely followed a rise in high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and lipid disorders, according to NPR.
High blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes are among the risk factors of early stroke, according to NPR.
“Lifestyle is the biggest thing,” said Jessica Barrick, a junior studying exercise physiology. “How you eat, physical activity and a healthy diet will really contribute to preventing blood clots and lowering your blood pressure.”
Stroke is among the leading causes of disability in the United States and is the No. 5 cause of death, according to the American Stroke Association.
“I felt lucky that my family all came together so quickly and that we were there for my mom,” Tolman said. “I wish I could’ve been there right when it happened to support my dad. He kind of lost it for a while thinking that he might lose his wife.”
The negative effects of strokes are contingent on the severity of the blockage and where in the brain it occurred.
When a stroke occurs in the right side of the brain it can lead to paralysis of the left side of the body, memory loss and vision problems, according to the American Stroke Association.
When stroke occurs on the left side of the brain it can lead to paralysis on the right side of the body, memory loss and problems with speech and language, according to the American Stroke Association.
When a stroke occurs in the stem of the brain both sides of the body can be affected, and can leave a person speechless and paralyzed from the neck down, according to the American Stroke Association.