Strokes Occurring At Younger Ages
Strokes are no longer an affliction of old age, a new study finds.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis found that people in the working ages of life are having strokes with greater regularity than ever before.
While more people under the age of 65 are suffering strokes, rehabilitation is often not offered to younger people with mild stroke according to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, the national trade organization. Heart attacks, cancer and strokes are the three major critical illnesses affecting Americans.
The study examined data on nearly 8,000 people treated for stroke between 1999 and 2008. Researchers found that 45 percent were under 65 and 27 percent were under the age of 55. This differs drastically from data from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which states that 66 percent of all strokes occur in people over 65, the report in the September/October issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy reports.
Most of the strokes among those under 65 were mild. Individuals typically do not have outward signs of impairment and therefore are discharged with little or no rehabilitation. The report noted that these individuals have trouble reintegrating back into complex activities of everyday life such as employment.
About 71 percent of patients who had a mild to moderate stroke were discharged directly home, discharged with home services only, or discharged with outpatient services only. Follow-up with stroke victims revealed that 46 percent of those with a mild stroke said they were working slower, 42 percent said they were not able to do their job as well, 31 percent said they were not able to stay organized and 52 percent said they had problems concentrating.
SOURCES: Timothy J. Wolf, O.T.D., M.S.CI., O.T.R/L, instructor, occupational therapy and neurology and investigator for the Cognitive Rehabilitation Research Group, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.; Richard Isaacson, M.D., assistant professor, neurology and medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; September/October 2009, American Journal of Occupational Therapy
Written by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance