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.