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News



January 16, 2013
Stroke victims getting younger, research suggests

Research published by the medical journal Neurology suggests that people are suffering from strokes at younger ages than in earlier decades.

In a review of incidents of stroke among 20 to 54-year-olds living in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky in 1993-94, 1999 and 2005, researchers found first-time victims of stroke have been getting younger.

According to their research, the percentage of individuals under age 55 who experienced a stroke for the first time rose from 13 per cent in 1993 to 19 per cent in 2005.  In addition, the average age for all first-time stroke victims has declined from age 71 to 69 in that same period.

“The reasons for this trend could be a rise in factors such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol,” says study author and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine neurologist Dr. Brett Kissela.  “These finds are clearly a cause for concern because strokes in younger people translate to greater lifetime disability.”

While Dr. Kissela’s research may not apply directly to Canada, rising rates of diabetes and obesity in this country have sparked warnings from medical professionals about the potential risks for stroke and other illnesses.  

If the University of Cincinnati research is confirmed, plan sponsors should expect to see increased numbers of stroke-related claims among middle-aged employees in the coming years.

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