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Age is one of the biggest misconceptions about stroke

From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

It's National Stroke Awareness Month and one of the biggest misconceptions about stroke is that it only happens to the elderly. While age is one of the risk factors and your chance for a stroke increases with age, anyone can have a stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. Although many people think of stroke as a condition that affects only older adults, strokes can and do occur in people of all ages. In fact, nearly a quarter of all strokes occur in people younger than age 65. Each year, almost 800,000 strokes occur in the United States.

Know the signs and symptoms:

Sudden weakness or numbness on one or both sides of the body

Sudden loss of vision

Sudden inability to speak or understand

 

Sudden drooping of the face, arms, trouble walking

"The worst headache of my life"

David Miller, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic's Comprehensive Stroke Center, says, "Thanks to advances in technology and medicine, we now have new treatments and therapies to treat stroke and reduce one's risk of permanent damage - or death."

He continues, "Stroke remains a leading cause of serious long-term disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, memory issues and emotional problems. The cost of stroke is significant - somewhere between $34-70 billion annually related to health care and medication costs, rehabilitation, lost wages, etc. The latest numbers on heart disease and stroke statistics - the 2015 update from the American Heart Association, confirm that stroke remains a leading cause of serious long-term disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, memory issues and emotional problems.

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