Between 1938 and 2007, stroke was the third leading cause of death in the United States before it fell to fifth in 2013. This decline in stroke mortality “reflects the improved control of hypertension…increased use of aspirin [and] improvements in stroke care.” Yet, the rate of decline in people aged 65 and older is nearly double the rate in people between 45-64 years of age. In fact, new research indicates that the incidence of stroke in the latter age group has increased.
A recent study that analyzed stroke hospitalization rates between 1995 and 2012 concluded that the rate of ischemic stroke hospitalization of young adults has risen continuously since 1995. The study examined data sets between 2003 and 2012, revealing 362,339 ischemic stroke hospitalizations in 2003-2004 and 421,815 in 2011-2012.
More specifically, the data showed that acute ischemic stroke hospitalizations significantly increased among men and women between the ages of 18 and 54. Since 1995-1996, the hospitalization rates for men between the ages of 18-34 and 35-44 have nearly doubled, with an increase of 41.5% among 35-44 year-old between 2003 and 2012. The rates for women in the same age groups increased by 30% over the same period.
Though improved imaging and detection methods may account for this increase in hospitalization rates, researchers believe the increase of the risk factors in the general population may also explain the rising rates. The study found that the incidence of stroke risk factors among young adults hospitalized for ischemic stroke increased steadily among men and women between 18-64 years. Such risk factors include hypertension, diabetes, lipid disorders, tobacco use, and obesity. The likelihood of having three or more of the five common risk factors doubled in both men and women since 1995.
Despite the improved diagnostic methods, healthcare professionals continue to miss clear signs of stroke in young adults. The attorneys at Abramson, Brown & Dugan have successfully representing stroke victims and their families in medical negligence actions. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been harmed by stroke-related malpractice.