Strokes are often associated with the elderly, or at least the middle-aged, but new research found that stroke rates have been rising among young Americans. Young men appear to be at greatest risk, with rates nearly doubling among males aged 18 to 44 since 1995. Scientists believe the rising rates may be due to Americans' worsening health on several measures, including obesity and diabetes, The Washington Post reported

The study, now published online in JAMA Neurology, found that rates for hospitalization for acute ischemic stroke rose by nearly 42 percent for men aged 35 to 44, and 30 percent for women in the same age group.

The report also showed that overall, the mortality rates from stroke have decreased over the past 50 years. However, the increase in strokes among younger Americans is worrying.

Read: 90% Of Strokes Are Preventable; High Blood Pressure And Lack Of Exercise Rank As Top Risk Factors

According to the American Stroke Association, a stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, causing cell death and impaired cognitive and physical abilities. Strokes are serious, and are the fifth-leading cause of death for all age groups in the U.S.

Results could not point out a single cause for the increase in strokes, but found that the occurrence of stroke risk factors among young people are also increasing. For example, risk factors for stroke include conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, lipid disorders, and tobacco use, The Washington Post reported. The report revealed that the likeliness of having three or more of these risk factors has doubled among young Americans.

The team say these results suggest young people and their doctors need to focus on health and lifestyle changes to reduce their risk.

Source: George MG, Tong X, Bowman BA. Prevalence of Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Strokes in Younger Adults. JAMA Neurology . 2017

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