Can the increasing rate of stroke among younger people be brought under control? Elizabeth Tracey reports


While it’s not really known why rates of stroke are increasing in those in the 18 to 50 year old age group, some factors are understood. Michele Johansen, a stroke expert at Johns Hopkins, says the good news is many of them are modifiable.

Johansen: Modifiable risk factors. You know if we could change some of these risk factors we would people like me out of business. If we could increase physical activity, if we could emphasize the importance of getting your blood pressure treated. Hypertension is a silent killer, a lot of people don’t even know that they’re hypertensive, which is why it’s important to see a primary care physician. Heavy episodic alcohol consumption certainly leads to an increased risk of stroke. Cigarette smoking, and then cardiovascular risk factors are also really important in stroke in the younger adult, and in the older adult.  :31

Johansen says you can’t change your genes since they run in your family, but many other risk factors for stroke early in life are squarely in your control. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.