New evidence points to non-cardiovascular factors behind rise in strokes in young people

The rise in stroke rates among young people may be linked to risk factors other than cardiovascular disease, US researchers suggest. Experts spoke about this at the conference of the European Stroke Organization and the World Stroke Organization – ESO-WSO 2020.

According to the results of a new study, the incidence of strokes is increasing among young people, but acute myocardial infarction remains stable. However, these diseases have many common cardiovascular risk factors, one of the researchers, Dr. Michelle Leppert, Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Colorado School of Medicine.

The researchers studied a random sample of patients 15-44 years old from the PharMetrics medical database who were present in the database for at least six months in 2001-2014.

Ultimately, the analysis included approximately 3 million patients, among whom there were 1,720 ischemic strokes and 1,848 acute myocardial infarctions.

Over 10 years, the incidence of strokes increased by 48% in the age group of 25-34 years and by 28% among 35-44 year olds. The researchers did not find a significant difference in the incidence of heart attacks in any age group, even considering men and women separately.

The findings raise the question of whether cardiovascular risk factors are the main reason for the rising incidence of strokes in young people, the researchers said. As Dr. Leppert explains, this may be due to other risk factors. It is also possible that improved diagnostics contribute to the apparent increase in stroke rates. Testing and MRI have become widespread, as has knowledge of stroke symptoms among the population, the expert adds.

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