Younger people are increasingly affected by stroke

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A good 30 percent of strokes worldwide affect 20- to 64-year-olds

While stroke used to be considered an older disease, more and more young people are now affected. This resulted in an evaluation in the context of the "Global Burden of Disease" study, a joint project of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank on the worldwide occurrence of the most common diseases. The results of the study were published in the specialist magazine "The Lancet". Particularly dramatic: Around every 20th stroke occurs in a child or adolescent. This is pointed out by the German Stroke Society (DSG) and the German Society for Neurology (DGN) in a joint communication.

The risk factors for stroke have grown along with prosperity According to the "Global Burden of Disease" study, in 1990, 25 percent of all strokes occurred in the 20- to 64-year-old age group. In 2010 the figure was already 31 percent - and the trend is rising. "The increase in the burden of disease is not only the result of increasing life expectancy," reports Professor Gerhard F. Hamann, 1st chairman of the DSG and director of the clinic for neurology at the Dr. Horst Schmidt clinics in Wiesbaden. "The current study does not investigated the reasons for the worldwide increase, but we assume that in many countries the risk factors have grown with prosperity, "adds Professor Hans-Christoph Diener, Director of the Clinic for Neurology at Essen University Hospital and press spokesman for the DGN.

The main risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation. "High cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, obesity and an unhealthy diet also contribute to the risk," added the Essen-based expert. According to the DSG and DGN, a healthy lifestyle and possibly medical treatment could account for around 70 percent of all strokes worldwide be avoided.

Hemorrhage often occurs in younger people with a stroke In the period examined from 1990 to 2010, there was a 68 percent increase in stroke worldwide. The number of deaths rose by 26 percent and the number of years of life with disabilities by 12 percent. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in adults. The situation has worsened, especially in developing and emerging countries as well as in Eastern Europe. The number of new cases of stroke in Russia in the past 20 years has increased from 322 to 371 per 100,000 inhabitants. In Germany, on the other hand, there was a drop from 176 to 141 per 100,000 people with strokes. This dramatic difference is believed to be due to social reasons such as poorer medical care. "But it is also certain that a stroke can be avoided to a high degree through a healthy lifestyle and that the good stroke care in Germany has fortunately led to a decrease in new cases. However, the total number of patients after a stroke is increasing, "reports Professor Joachim Röther, chief physician of the neurological clinic at Asklepios Klinik Altona and press spokesman for the DSG.

Strokes usually occur as a result of circulatory disorders in the brain when the vessels are narrowed due to calcification and are clogged by blood clots. Excessive blood pressure can also cause massive bleeding in the brain. This affects about 15 percent of the cases. According to the "Global Burden of Disease" study, more than half of all deaths (51.7 percent) are attributable to bleeding in the brain, which mostly affects middle-aged people. (ag)

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Video: Strokes increasing among young, middle-aged people

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