Stroke Can Happen At Any Age: Know The Signs

Younger people are being hospitalized for stroke. Know the symptoms of stroke and get treatment fast.

The number of people hospitalized for stroke between the ages of 15 and 44 rose as much as 37% between 1995 and 2008, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Thirty-five patients have been treated for strokes at Sidney Health Center over the last two years with ages ranging from 41-96 years of age.

• 41-44: 2 patients

• 49-57: 5 patients

• 62-64: 5 patients

• 65-70: 6 patients

• 71-96: 17 patients

Those numbers point to the need for younger people to control stroke risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, the CDC says. But they also highlight the importance of knowing the symptoms of a stroke and seeking prompt care.

Stroke treatment is most effective when administered within 4.5 hours. Rapid treatment improves your chances of survival, and it reduces the possibility of permanent disability, regardless of the severity of a stroke.

The Signs of Stroke

A stroke is when the blood supply is blocked to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Brain cells begin to die from a lack of oxygen.

Stroke symptoms come on quickly and, according to the American Stroke Association, often include:

• Confusion and speech problems

• Vision problems

• Numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body

• Dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination

• A sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Call 911 if you observe any of these signs. Don't dismiss them. Even patients suffering from a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a so-called mini stroke, can reduce their chances of disability with immediate treatment, according to a recently published study in the American Heart Association Journal Stroke.

Stroke Treatment

The most effective treatment for stroke is a clot-busting drug known as tPA, which must be given intravenously within 4.5 hours. After that window of time, treatment focuses on preventing a secondary stroke with medications that limit the blood's ability to clot and procedures such as stenting to keep blood vessels open.

Early supportive care, such as physical therapy, can also make a difference in recovery.

You can reduce your chances of having a stroke by making the same healthy diet and lifestyle choices that help prevent all cardiovascular disease: manage your blood pressure and cholesterol; lose weight; eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods low in sodium and saturated fat; participate in regular physical activity; and stop smoking.

If you or a loved one experience a life-threatening emergency, dial 9-1-1. The Sidney Health Center Emergency Department is staffed by medical personnel trained in emergency care including a team of board-certified physicians, nurses, hospital personnel and EMTs, who provide emergency services 24/7. The Emergency Department is available to treat major and minor illnesses and injuries. To access emergency care, use the emergency entrance located on 12th Ave. SW, Sidney.

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