Health Tips Tuesday: strokes in younger and middle-age adults

Dr. Sharjeel Panjwani, a neurologist at Baystate Health, discussed the findings of that study and if anything can be done to prevent such strokes.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 10:06 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The American Stroke Association recently reported a 11 percent increase in the past decade of intracerebral hemorrhage strokes, a deadly type of stroke that is growing at a more rapid rate among younger to middle aged adults.

Dr. Sharjeel Panjwani, a neurologist at Baystate Health, discussed the findings of that study and if anything can be done to prevent such strokes.

Why are the incidents of intracerebral hemorrhage strokes increasing in younger to middle aged adults?

Panjwani: “That’s a really good question. So over the past 30 years, what we’ve seen is that the stroke incidents both the cerebral hemorrhages and the steamic strokes have be declining in the ages above 75, but what we have seen in the younger generation less than the age of 49, we see an increase of bleeding inside the brain. This is most likely because of high blood pressure and diabetes just becoming more common among younger and middle aged adults and this is probably one of the biggest reasons along with a lot of the drug epidemic which has been ongoing in our younger generations.”

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

Panjwani: “Sure, so we use a mnemonic called the FAST...mnemonic, it’s pretty widely used all over the country, especially in Massachusetts and what it stands for is that fast facial droopiness or weakness on one side of the face, any arm or leg weakness, any speech problems, and if someone says they have a pretty bad headache and vision loss in one eye or both eyes or even dizziness some of the very significant symptoms of stroke and they should seek care immediately.”

How can you prevent a stroke?

Panjwani: “A stroke here is very similar to when someone thinks of preventing a heart attack. It’s the same thing we call it a brain attack, so a lot of things which are pretty consistent with reducing heart risks such as high blood pressure. We know it is one of the biggest risks and reducing the blood pressure can reduce the risk by doubling or even quadrupling decreasing the risk. Others things are losing weight. Losing as little as ten pounds can have a real impact on stroke overall. Exercising more, but at least 30 minutes. If someone cannot do a 30 minute exercise at once, they can break it down to about 10 or 15 minute intervals.

One of the biggest things is drinking. If someone drinks more than two drinks a day, that can sharply increase the riskk of stroke going forward. Other common things we think of is quitting smoking, weight loss, and one of the biggest ones in our community is called interferbulation, which is an abnormal heart for them in which clots can be formed in the heart and clots and go up to the brain and lead to a stroke. These are things we should think about going forward.”