World Stroke Day, observed on October 29th each year, serves as a global reminder of the critical need for stroke awareness and prevention. While stroke is often associated with older adults, an alarming trend has emerged – the rising incidence of stroke in young adults.
In an exclusive interview with Zee News English, Dr. Vishal Chafale, Neurologist, Apollo Hospitals CBD Belapur, Mumbai talks about the reasons behind this concerning development, highlighting risk factors, warning signs, and essential preventive measures.
Dr Vishal says, “Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and it is becoming increasingly common in young adults. In India, stroke is the second leading cause of death. It is estimated that up to 10-15 % of all strokes in India occur in young adults.”
Risk Factors for Stroke in Young Adults
Young adults today face a unique set of risk factors that make them susceptible to stroke. High blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are major culprits, and these conditions are more prevalent in younger individuals due to lifestyle changes and urbanization. It’s essential to recognize that these risk factors can lead to stroke, even in people in their 20s and 30s.
Moreover, many young adults are unaware of the signs and symptoms of stroke. The lack of awareness can result in delayed treatment, which can be life-threatening. This knowledge gap needs to be addressed through education and outreach programs.
Additional risk factors for stroke in young adults include the use of estrogen-containing contraception (relevant to women), pregnancy-related conditions, migraine (particularly in women), genetic disorders, vasculopathy, blood disorders, and cardiac issues. Identifying and managing these risk factors is crucial in stroke prevention.
Warning Signs of Stroke in Young Adults
Stroke is a medical emergency, and recognizing its warning signs is vital for timely intervention. The following symptoms should raise immediate concern:
– Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
– Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking, or understanding speech.
– Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes.
– Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination.
– Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Early recognition and immediate medical attention can significantly improve the chances of survival and recovery.
How to Prevent Stroke at a Young Age
Preventing stroke in young adults requires proactive measures:
1. Healthy Diet: Emphasize a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low in saturated fats and salt.
2. Regular Exercise: Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 days a week to maintain cardiovascular health.
3. Healthy Weight: Maintain a healthy body weight to reduce the strain on your heart and blood vessels.
4. Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Control: Regularly monitor and manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
5. Smoking Cessation: Quitting smoking is one of the most effective ways to lower stroke risk.
6. Diabetes Management: If you have diabetes or other chronic conditions, follow your healthcare provider’s guidance for proper management.