The new stroke risk? Being 65 or younger

Strokes are scary animals.

Not only do they seem to strike without warning, but they can leave patients and their families in limbo as doctors assess the degree of damage, how much recovery may be possible, the long-term outlook and possibility of disability — and of course, the risk for another.

Unfortunately, it’s a truth I know first-hand, as my mom suffered a stroke when she was in her early 50s, which at the time was considered young for a stroke.

However, the truth is that not only can a stroke happen at any age, but more people under 65 are having strokes than ever before.

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Approximately a 15% jump in strokes

While recent government data has shown that the overall rate of stroke for all adults has gone up by 7.8% in the years between 2011 and 2022, the rate of stroke for those under the age of 65 has risen far more steeply.

In fact, research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention team showed that while the number of strokes in seniors stayed the same, in adults under 65, stroke rates went up by a frightening 15% in the same decade.

Here’s how it broke, down by age:

  • Among people ages 45 to 64, strokes rose by 15.7% (with 3.3% reporting a stroke in 2011 and 3.8% reporting one in 2022)
  • For adults 18 to 44, the rate of stroke increased by 14.6% (0.8% of this age group reporting a stroke in 2011 and 0.9% suffering a stroke in 2022)

According to the researchers, race also factored into the increase. They found that while the incidence of stroke for Black Americans rose by 7.8% over the study period, Hispanic Americans suffered 16.1% more strokes and the chances of stroke for White Americans rose by 7.1%.

Factors driving the increase

The researchers say that there are several reasons the rates of stroke have gone up so significantly in the past decade.

The most important of these driving factors is the higher levels of obesity across younger and middle-aged adults.

As the researchers noted, “From 1999–2000 to 2017–2018, obesity prevalence among males increased from 27.5% to 43% and among females from 33.4% to 41.9%; [obesity] prevalence during 2017–2018 was highest among those aged 40–59 years [44.8%].”

Additionally, stroke risk goes hand-in-hand with hypertension, rates of which have also been steadily on the rise in middle-aged adults.

According to the researchers, the incidence of high blood pressure went from “40.3% during 1999–2000 to 46.8% during 2017–2018.”

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How to lower stroke risk

The good news is that both obesity and high blood pressure are modifiable health risks and by taking steps to fight them, you also decrease your risk of stroke.

And there are other steps you can take to prevent stroke.

These include:

Finally, be sure to boost your immune system. The second a blood clot wedges itself in a blood vessel, your brain sends out an SOS signal calling for help from your immune system to clear out cellular debris, limit damage to your brain and kick-start repair.

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CDC: Stroke rates went up 15% in younger adults — Becker’s Clinical Leadership

Stroke Rates Are Rising, Especially Among the Young — US News & World Report

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.