No one is immune to a stroke.
If you’ve thought that strokes only affect older people, you’re not alone. It’s a common misconception, but the truth is that a stroke can happen to anyone at any age. According to Dr Deidre De Silva, chair of the Stroke Services Improvement (SSI) team at the National Neuroscience Institute, one in 10 stroke patients are under 50 years of age. “I have seen patients in their teens, twenties and thirties,” she says. “Strokes can also occur in the paediatric age group.”
Don’t think that you’re immune to suffering from a stroke just because of your age. Dr De Silva explains what you need to know about strokes and why it’s affecting younger people these days.
Strokes are becoming more prevalent among younger people nowadays. Why?
There was an increase in age-specific stroke rates in the 40-44 and 45-49 age groups in recent years. One reason for this increase is a high prevalence of vascular risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking. Unhealthy habits and patterns like obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits among younger adults also play a part.
Does a high-stress lifestyle increase one’s risk of stroke? Why or why not?
A high-stress lifestyle has been linked to increased likelihood of health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Chronic stress may thus also increase one’s risk of stroke.
What are the tell-tale symptoms of a stroke?
The tell-tale symptoms of a stroke are a drooping face, weakness of the arms, and difficulty speaking. If someone is showing these symptoms they must be rushed to the hospital immediately. To make it easy to remember, the acronym ‘F.A.S.T’ is a great way to do so:
F: Face drooping– Is the person’s smile uneven?
A: Arms weakness– Can the person raise both arms and keep them up?
S: Speech difficulty– Does the person’s speech sound slurred or unclear?
T: Time to call 995– If the person shows any of these signs, they need to be rushed to the hospital immediately.
Other signs to look out for include the sudden onset of numbness, difficulty swallowing, change of vision, an unsteady gait, giddiness, or severe headaches.
What are the odds of a full recovery from a stroke?
Early detection of stroke using the “F.A.S.T” acronym and prompt hyperacute treatment improves the odds of a better recovery from a stroke. For every two to three patients treated with clot-busting medication or a clot-removing procedure, one more will have better functional improvement than if treatment was not administered.
Recovery from a stroke is a process that takes time. The extent of recovery varies.
Rehabilitation helps the patient to regain some functions and helps them to adapt when taking part in daily activities.
What are the long-term health effects of a stroke?
The long-term health effects of a stroke can be physical, cognitive and/or psychological.
Physical effects include weakness, poor coordination, sensory impairment, speech and swallowing difficulties. Cognitive effects may include difficulties with memory and other higher mental functions. Psychological effects that can occur after stroke are depression, anxiety and fatigue.