Strokes are increasingly hitting younger people–and the incidence of the crippling condition could double worldwide by 2030 according to the first global analysis of the problem. Though the chances of a stroke jump dramatically with age, the growing number of younger people with worrying risk factors such as bulging waistlines, diabetes and high blood pressure means they are becoming increasingly susceptible. Scientists combed through more than 100 studies from 1990 to 2010 studying stroke patients across the world and used modeling techniques when there wasn’t enough data. They found the incidence of stroke has jumped by a quarter in people aged 20 to 64, and that those patients make up almost one-third of the total number of strokes.
Most strokes occur when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain. Patients often experience symptoms including a droopy face, the inability to lift their arms and garbled speech. If not treated quickly, patients can be left with long-term side effects, including speech and memory problems, paralysis and the loss of some vision.
Researchers said most strokes still occur in the elderly and that the numbers of people suffering strokes are still increasing as the world’s population ages.