A Stroke Is A "Brain Attack"

There is a growing rate of strokes in younger people. While around two-thirds of all strokes occur in people over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the median stroke age is trending downwards. A 2016 study in JAMA found that stroke hospitalization rates for men between the ages of 18 and 44 nearly doubled from 1995 to 2012, and rose by 31.8 percent for women of the same age.

Strokes are now a leading cause of death in Africa.  It tends to happen later in life as we age, because there’s more time for the plaque to build up, but it certainly can happen in young people. A stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, which either happens when there is a bleed in the brain, or in most cases, about 80 percent of the time, when plaque or a clot cuts off blood flow in an artery that leads to the brain.

There are a few different reasons why people develop that plaque buildup. Genetics are a major factor and family history can be a predictor for strokes, but smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure all raise the risk of strokes, and are on the rise. Experts believe that these factors are all leading to the increase in strokes at younger ages.