Yes Young Adults Can Have Strokes, Too | by heidi

Yes Young Adults Can Have Strokes, Too | by heidi


    Hailey Bieber was hospitalized last week after having stroke-like symptoms due to a small blood clot in her brain. The 25-year-old model said the blood clot caused "a small lack of oxygen" but she recovered within a few hours.

    Having a stroke at the age of 25 may sound surprising to some. But according to a 2020 study, about 10-15% of strokes occur in people under the age of 50.1 Young adults are not altogether immune from the risk.

    “Traditionally, we have thought of stroke as occurring at older ages. Unfortunately, we are seeing younger and younger people having strokes,” M. Shazam Hussain, MD, board certified neurologist and director of Cleveland Clinic's Cerebrovascular Center, told Verywell. “We definitely want people of all ages to really know those signs and symptoms.”

    Some studies have suggested that COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk of developing blood clots, but the risk appears rare, Hussain said. Most people won't develop dangerous blood clots, but it's important to learn the symptoms of a stroke so they can get help immediately in case of an emergency, he added.

    How to Detect a Stroke

    Nearly 30% of people under the age of 45 don’t know the telltale signs of a stroke, according to a recent survey. But early detection can be key in reducing risk of complications. Per minute, studies estimate that strokes can destroy about 2 million neurons in the brain.2 

    One way to detect a stroke is to use the BE-FAST method, which tells people where to look to detect stroke symptoms and stresses the importance of seeking care urgently.3


    B: Balance. Is the person having difficulty standing up?

    E: Eyes. Is the person having difficulty seeing?

    F: Face. Is the person experiencing droopiness on one side of the face?

    A: Arms. Is the person experiencing weakness in an arm?

    S: Speech. Is the person having difficulty speaking or are they slurring their words?

    T: Timing. Be fast.

    “Stroke is probably one of the most time sensitive conditions around,” Hussain said. “It's really a situation where every minute every second and every minute counts.”

    Strokes can have devastating long-term impact on people's health and wellbeing regardless of their age. It is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States.4

    The severity of a stroke can depend on factors like the size of damaged area in the brain and where the stroke occurs in the brain, Hussain added.

    Differences Between a Stroke and a TIA

    Some people who experience symptoms of a stroke may actually be experiencing a transient ischemic stroke (TIA) or mini stroke.5 A TIA is temporary and it can resolve from a few minutes to a few hours. While a stroke usually causes abnormalities that are visible on a brain scan, TIA may not be detected through MRI after someone recovers. This could mean that the body has dissolved the blood clot on its own and it's more typical with smaller blood clots, Hussain said.

    Unfortunately, it's hard to tell whether a person is suffering a stroke or a TIA until the aftermath of the incident.5Recovering from a TIA does not remove all risks of complications. Depending on the cause of the blood clot, there may be underlying medical issues that need to be addressed.

    “It's important not to just relax at that point. It's better to go talk to your doctor or seek out medical attention,” Hussain said.

    Finding and treating an underlying cause can also be crucial in helping people reduce the risk of having a second stroke, which is common after initial complications. TIA is a warning sign of risk factors that may eventually result in a stroke.

    Within 90 days after a TIA, the risk of having a stroke or another TIA is between 2% and 17%,6

     according to a 2011 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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