Loyola Neurologist is Co-Author of Report Calling for Increased Awareness, Education and Research
MAYWOOD, Ill. – Fifteen percent of the most common type of strokes occur in adolescents and young adults, and more young people are showing risk factors for such strokes, according to a report in the journal Neurology.
Neurologist José Biller of Loyola University Medical Center is a co-author of the report, a consensus statement developed by the American Academy of Neurology.
Between 532,000 and 852,000 people age 18 to 44 in the United States have had a stroke. And between 1995-96 and 2007-08, U.S. hospital discharges for stroke among patients age 15 to 44 increased by amounts ranging from 23 percent to 53 percent, depending on age and gender of the group.
“The impact of strokes in this age group is devastating to the adolescent or young adult, their families and society,” Biller said.
Biller is a member of an expert panel the American Academy of Neurology convened to develop a consensus report on the recognition, evaluation and management of ischemic stroke in young adults and adolescents.
About 85 percent of all strokes are ischemic, meaning they are caused by blockages that prevent blood flow to the brain. And more young people have risk factors for ischemic strokes. Those risks include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, abnormal cholesterol levels, congenital heart disease and smoking.
Strokes in young people have a disproportionately large economic impact because they can disable patients before their most productive years. And while coping with the shock of having a stroke, “younger survivors may be dealing with relationships, careers and raising children – issues that require additional awareness and resources,” the consensus report said.
The authors said more emphasis and education is needed about the risk factors and warning signs of stroke in young people in our schools, at the workplace, in primary care physicians’ offices and the media. Given the increasing physical, emotional and financial burden that strokes cause in young people “there will need to be greater research into reducing this burden."
Biller, one of the nation’s leading experts on stroke in young people, is second author of the consensus report. Biller is chair of the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. First author of the report is Aneesh Singhal, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital.