Few Young People Recognize Symptoms of Stroke

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By Erin O'Brien

If you or someone close to you is suffering from a stroke, you need to get to a hospital quickly because every minute counts. 

And yet, in a recent national survey from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, a staggering 73% of people under age 45 said that if they were experiencing the symptoms of a stroke, they would likely wait to see if their condition improved before seeking medical attention.

This is especially alarming considering that the number of young stroke sufferers has vastly risen in recent years.

“Timely treatment for stroke is probably more important than for almost any other medical problem there is,” said Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center neurologist. “There is a very limited window in which to start treatment because the brain is very sensitive to a lack of blood flow or to bleeding, and the longer patients wait, the more devastating the consequences.”

Young people may not seek treatment right away when they experience a stroke because they don't know the symptoms of a stroke or they just don't think it could be happening to them.

But strokes can and do happen to young people. According to a 2013 study published in Neurology, the number of young stroke sufferers rose as much as 53% since the mid-90s.

According to the National Stroke Association, about 87% of patients suffer from ischemic strokes, in which arteries in the brain become blocked, cutting off oxygen. High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity are all contributing factors. Cutting your risk factors can help. 

Additionally, be sure that you you know the symptoms of a stroke and follow the act “FAST” guidelines if you or anyone near you appears to be having a stroke. FAST stands for: 

Face drooping

Arm weakness or

Speech difficulty, it’s

Time to call 9-1-1