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In the United States, strokes—a term used to describe the cerebrovascular accident in which part of the brain loses its blood supply and stops working—are the third leading cause of death. As a prevalent and deadly illness caused by many factors, ranging from drug use to obesity, strokes are very well studied and researched. For example, it is now known that stroke rates have, thankfully, been on the decline among the nation’s elderly.

 Strokes are the third leading cause of death in America.

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However, while statistics surrounding the elderly show a positive, healthier trend, an alarming discovery was made this past April: according to researchers, the stroke rates in young adults have been steadily rising. The study, which used hospitalization data from the National Inpatient Sample from 1995-2012, detailed the shocking news. For men and women between the ages of 18 to 44, stroke rates grew during these years. The rate is nearly double for men; males at the ages of 35-44 saw a 41.5% increase.

But that’s not all. Researchers dove even further and examined hospitalization data from 2003 to 2012, specifically for the prevalence of associated risk factors for acute stroke. They identified whether each patient had a majority of the five common risk factors: diabetes, hypertension, obesity, use of tobacco, and lipid disorders. Both men and women that were hospitalized for having an acute stroke had double the amount of risk factors, with each factor contributing about an even amount.

Thus, there is not only one main reason to blame for contributing to this concerning statistic; instead, there are multiple different factors working at once. The rising percentage of young adults that have high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity has a positive correlation with the risk of stroke. This reinforces the need for physicians to educate their patients on the value of staying healthy and taking care of their bodies. With proper education on nutritional dieting, exercise, sleep, and mental health, young adults can work toward a healthier life.

As medicine and science continue to advance into the modernized world, it is logical to assume that human beings are becoming healthier, living longer, and feeling happier. However, this study shows that this is not the case—while health is considered a priority in science, it is not always considered a priority in the eyes of regular, everyday people. This is an attitude that needs to be addressed and changed: the vitality of taking care of one’s body should be prevalent in human culture and always be placed with upmost importance as mankind’s most dangerous opponent could become himself.

Feature Image Source: RyanMcGuire

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