High Blood Pressure and Strokes in Young People

Increasing Rates of High Blood Pressure Mean More Strokes in Young People

Generally, we think of strokes as being a problem of old people. No more. There’s been a dramatic increase in the rate of strokes in people at younger and younger ages.

I suppose it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise because is pretty easy recognize that poor lifestyle choices (a crummy diet and little exercise) has led to an epidemic of obesity in young people, along with medical problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes that used to primarily affect older people. Still, it’s pretty shocking to think of a young person having a stroke.

Researchers looked at people between the ages of 20 and 54. Back in 1993 the rate of stroke in this age group was 26 out of every 100,000. By 2005 it was up to 48 per 100,000.

Among blacks, who have a higher rate of stroke in general, the news is even worse. In 2005, the rate of stroke was 128 per 100,000.

This is a retrospective study and just observes what the incidence of stroke is, not necessarily identifying what caused the increase. However we know that high blood pressure is a definite risk factor for stroke and that more and more young people are being diagnosed with hypertension. It doesn’t seem too much of a leap to think that there may be some cause-and-effect going on.

You can read more about the study at:


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