Understanding the rise in strokes
Content provided by Hannah Walters
The likelihood of experiencing a stroke during our lifetime has increased by 50% over the last 17 years. Alarmingly, there’s many studies which show this increase to be among younger adults, particularly those of working age. The Medical Research Foundation has found an increase of 67% in those aged 50 or younger, with the majority working in high-skilled or managerial jobs.
At Dudley Stroke Association, we offer valuable information and resources, to enable change and informed decision-making. We provide support to everyone affected by stroke, including family and carers.
As strokes continue to be a major concern for people, we want
to bring awareness to this increase. Preventative measures can be taken from an
early age and potentially decrease the chances.
Lifestyle factors that can contribute to stroke
While the exact cause of a stroke remains unknown, medical
experts suggest that certain lifestyle factors could be increasing the
risk. These include:
· Physical inactivity
Alcohol and drug use
Note – other factors like family history, genetics and
health conditions like APS,
fibrillation may be beyond our control. But by modifying and
controlling the above, you can significantly lower the overall risk.
Is your job increasing your risk of stroke?
Dealing with work stress can cause many problems in our
lives. The American Academy of Neurology revealed that those with high-stress
jobs had a 22% higher risk of stroke. This risk was
even higher in women at 33%.
Though this study shows an increased risk, there’s no
indication of ‘how’. Some scientists have said that it’s down to factors that
go along with stress. Eating poorly and not exercising, plus the increase in
stress hormones, and inflammation can lead to unstable or high
contraceptives can make stroke risk higher in women who suffer from
migraines, this could potentially be part of the reason for an increased risk
Insomnia increases risk in those under 50’s
Recent news reports highlighted a study by scientists in the US. Participants who were under the age of 50 that experienced 5-8 symptoms of insomnia, had nearly four times the risk of having a stroke.
This signifies the importance of identifying and treating insomnia
in younger adults to reduce this risk. Measures include cognitive behavioural
therapy, relaxation techniques or medication as a last resort.
If you’re concerned or you’d like further info, contact your
Changing our way of thinking
As strokes are on the rise, particularly in working-age
adults, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate our understanding. We
need to take a more proactive approach by addressing these and focusing on
implementing changes earlier in life to reduce our risk.
By modifying or controlling the risk factors earlier. We can
significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing one.
Increase Physical Activity – Regular exercise
improves overall cardiovascular health and helps to maintain a healthy weight.
Aim to do at least
30 minutes of moderate exercise over 5 days per week. Incorporating
activities like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming into your daily routine can
help reduce your risk and improve overall wellbeing.
Improved nutrition – Consuming a well-balanced diet
rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can help to reduce
inflammation and lower blood pressure. Try and limit the number of processed
foods, sugar, and foods with excessive salt you consume. This will lower the
amount of cholesterol and saturated fats you intake.
Decreasing stress levels – Chronic stress can have a
detrimental impact on your cardiovascular health. Practise self-care,
meditation, and deep breathing exercises. If you’re struggling with managing
your stress levels at work, speak to your employer. Many organisations offer employee
assistance programs for exactly this.
The rise in strokes among adults of all ages is a concerning trend that demands attention. By understanding risk factors like obesity and high blood pressure, we can take proactive steps earlier in life to reduce this. It’s also paramount to recognise any family history, genetics or other health conditions that may be beyond our control. By modifying and controlling our lifestyle factors, we can significantly lower the risk.
Stroke Association, we’re commuted to empowering these changes to help
people better understand strokes.
If you’re worried about your stroke risk, reach out to your GP. They’ll be able to give you guidance and support. Together, we can work towards changing the way we think about strokes. By being proactive and taking protective measures earlier in life, we can prevent them from happening.