According to a study from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine regarding people from the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region — an estimated population of 1.3 million — strokes are occurring at younger ages.
The mean age at stroke significantly decreased from 71.2 years in 1993/1994 to 69.2 years in 2005.
The proportion of all strokes under age 55 increased from 12.9% in 1993/1994 to 18.6% in 2005.
Stroke incidence rates in those 20-54 years of age were significantly increased in both black and white patients in 2005 compared to earlier periods.
The study author Dr. Brett Kissela hypothesized that stroke incidence in younger adults (age 20-54) increased over time, most notably between 1999 and 2005. The study concluded that there is increasing stroke incidence at younger ages.
The results of the study are of great public health significance because strokes in younger patients carry the potential for greater lifetime burden of disability and because some potential contributors identified for this trend are modifiable.
The potential contributors identified in the trend toward younger stroke victims include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and recreational drug use — for example cocaine.
Kissela BM, Khoury JC, Alwell K, Moomaw CJ, Woo D, Adeoye O, Flaherty ML, Khatri P, Ferioli S, De Los Rios La Rosa F, Broderick JP, Kleindorfer DO. Age at stroke: Temporal trends in stroke incidence in a large, biracial population. Neurology. 2012 Oct 10.