(NaturalNews) An increasing number of younger people are experiencing strokes these days, according to a new study published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). And while the overall stroke incidence rate has somewhat declined among all age groups based on the figures, the average age of stroke sufferers is also decreasing, which means the very elderly are no longer the only individuals at primary risk for the disease.
For their research, Dr. Brett Kissela from the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine and his colleagues from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center conducted a time trend study that examined the number and characteristics of first-time stroke cases at three time intervals: 1993, 1999, and 2005. They then compiled and assessed the data to look for any potential changes in the pattern of the disease.
In 1993, there were 1,942 new cases of first-ever strokes in people over the age of 20, which rose to 2,034 new cases in the 1999 sampling. Later on in 2005, this number dropped slightly to 1,916 overall new cases, highlighting a potential decrease in disease incidence. But where the findings took a turn for the worse was in the proportion of new stroke cases that occurred in people under the age of 55, which have traditionally been at much lower risk.
According to the data, only 12.9 percent of all new cases of stroke in 1993 were found to be in people under the age of 55. By 1999, this percentage rose to 13.3 percent, according to the figures. But by 2005, a whopping 18.6 percent of all new stroke cases were found to be in people under the age of 55, which represents a 44 percent increase over the 1993 figures.
"With the number of younger people having strokes increasing, greater strain will be placed on health services to support them with their recovery," said Dr. Clare Walton from the Stroke Association about the findings. "This problem needs to be address now. In many cases, a stroke can be prevented and everyone can reduce their risk by making a few simple healthy lifestyle changes."
Decrease your risk of stroke through exercise, nutrition
According to the U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS), this rise in stroke incidence among younger people is at least partially due to poor diet and excessive junk food consumption. Dr. Kissella noted that risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, and high circulating cholesterol are also to blame, and all of these factors are linked to poor diet and lack of regular exercise.
As far as nutrition interventions are concerned, the anti-inflammatory antioxidants found in many fruits, vegetables, and "superfoods;" the B complex vitamins found in grass-fed meats and some food-based supplements, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and hemp oils, and the disease-fighting nutrients found in almonds, walnuts, and various other nuts, are all great options for helping to prevent the onset of stroke and heart disease.