Stroke in young adults


Roundup: Prevalence of Strokes Rising Significantly in Adults Younger Than 65; and More News

CDC: Heart Disease, Hypertension and Obesity Likely Fueling Rise in Strokes in Younger Adults

Comparing self-reported health data from 2011-2013 and 2020-2022, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a concerning trend: The prevalence of strokes is increasing, particularly in adults under the age of 65.

That follows years of small but steady declines in the incident rate of strokes before 2010.

According to the new CDC report: From 2011–2013 to 2020–2022, stroke prevalence increased 14.6 percent among adults aged 18–44 years, and 15.7 percent among those aged 45–64 years (9.3 percent among women and 6.2 percent among men). 

While the causes behind the rise in strokes are not entirely clear, researchers point to rising rates of obesity and high blood pressure as major contributing factors. The most important stroke risk factors are high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Additional risk factors include physical inactivity and being overweight or obese.

In its report, the CDC states that the rise in strokes among younger adults “corresponds with a rise of cardiovascular risk factors among younger, working-age adults during recent decades.” From 1999–2000 to 2017–2018, obesity prevalence among males increased from 27 percent to 43 percent; and among females from 33 percent to 42 percent. Obesity prevalence during 2017–2018 was highest among those aged 40–59 years (45 percent). Hypertension (high blood pressure) prevalence was highest among adults aged 45–64 years, and increased from 40 percent during 1999–2000 to 47 percent during 2017–2018.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of long-term disability. During 2006–2010, stroke prevalence had decreased by 3.7 percent. Overall, U.S. stroke prevalence increased by 7.8 percent from 2011–2013 to 2020–2022, the CDC found.

“Identifying and understanding demographic factors associated with stroke, and disparities in stroke prevalence, might help focus programmatic and clinical interventions to improve the prevention and treatment of stroke at state and national levels,” the CDC stated.

Cases of ADHD are Increasing as 1 in 9 U.S. Children, Ages 3-17, have been Diagnosed

About 1 in 9 children in the U.S. between the ages of 3 and 17 -- representing 11.4 percent or 7.1 million children -- have been diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calling the findings an "expanding public health concern."

Researchers found that in 2022, 7.1 million kids and adolescents in the U.S. had received an ADHD diagnosis – a million more children than in 2016. The CDC said the goal of the study, using data from the 2022 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), was to estimate the prevalence of diagnosed ADHD among U.S. children, aged 3 to 17 years.

Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or being overly active, states the CDC. A factors that likely contributed to the increase in ADHD diagnoses is a growing awareness by healthcare providers, teachers and parents about ADHD symptoms, making the condition easier to identify. Treatment can involve a combination of behavior therapy and medication.

In addition to an increase in screenings, another likely factor was the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have aggravated ADHD symptoms or allowed parents to observe their children more closely. “Public awareness and discussion of ADHD using social media has risen in recent years, with notable increases since the start of the pandemic,” according to the CDC report.

It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another, the CDC explains. However, children with ADHD do not grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms can continue, can be severe, and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.

The CDC report concludes: “The estimates from this survey can also be used by policymakers, government agencies, healthcare systems, public health practitioners, and other partners to plan for the needs of children with ADHD, such as by ensuring access to care and services for ADHD.”

Study: Regular Fish Oil Supplements May Increase Heart, Stroke Risks of Healthy People – So Check With Your Doctor

Clinical studies over the past decade have questioned the effectiveness of fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention of heart disease. New research has found that regular use of fish oil supplements might actually increase the “risk of first-time heart disease and stroke among those in good cardiovascular health,” according to a news release on the findings.

Fish oil is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids and is recommended as a dietary preventive to help prevent cardiovascular disease. But the evidence on how much protection fish oil supplements provides is inconclusive -- compared to the proven benefits of a healthy diet of foods containing omega-3s that include fish and other seafood; nuts and seeds; plant oils; and some fortified foods.

Prescribing high doses of purified EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil, can prevent heart attacks and strokes in some at-risk patients, according to U.S. regulators. However, these prescribed large doses of EPA are not associated with the popular supplements marketed as “fish oils containing omega-3″ — and everyone should check with their doctor before taking any supplements.

For the latest study, researchers reviewed data on 415,737 UK Biobank study participants (55 percent women), aged 40-69, who were surveyed between 2006 and 2010. The survey included questions on their daily dietary intake of oily and non-oily fish, and fish oil supplements.

The participants’ health was tracked until the end of March 2021 or death, whichever came first, using medical records data, states the news release.

For study participants with no known cardiovascular disease at the start of the monitoring period, regular use of fish oil supplements was linked to a 13 percent heightened risk of developing atrial fibrillation and a 5 percent higher risk of having a stroke.

“But among those who had cardiovascular disease at the start of the monitoring period, regular use of fish oil supplements was associated with a 15 percent lower risk of progressing from atrial fibrillation to a heart attack, and a 9 percent lower risk of progressing from heart failure to death,” states the news release.

The study’s findings were published the open-access journal BMJ Medicine. The study’s authors conclude: “Regular use of fish oil supplements might have different roles in the progression of cardiovascular disease. Further studies are needed to determine the precise mechanisms for the development and prognosis of cardiovascular disease events with regular use of fish oil supplements.”

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