If you have a stroke, expect your doctors to be vigilant in finding out why, Elizabeth Tracey reports


When someone of any age has a stroke, it’s really important to find out the cause or causes. That’s according to Johns Hopkins stroke expert Michele Johansen.

Johansen: Why, as stroke neurologists, do we spend a long time thinking about the cause of the stroke? Well, it’s important because stroke mechanism dictates treatment. If I know what caused your stroke then we can really work on either modifying that risk factor, for example high blood pressure, or thinking about procedures that can be done to fix the problem. If I can’t find the cause or if the cause is never found, it’s risky for the patient. How do we know that you’re not at risk for having another stroke if the cause of the stroke is never found?  :30

Johansen cites the most recent data indicating that while strokes are generally declining in the US, for those aged 18 to 50 the rate is actually increasing. This is especially concerning because those who have a stroke at an earlier age may live with years of disability, so finding out why is paramount. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.