Early Warning Aircraft

Early Warning: Strokes Rising in Young Adults

The rate of hospitalization for strokes in young people is rising at a time when the rates on older people is on the decline. This observation, from two new studies in the Journal of the American Heart Association this week, should serve as an early warning. Stroke is just one of a myriad of chronic and acute health problems that we can expect to rise as growing numbers of children with severe obesity advance into young adulthood.

Lucas Ramirez, lead author on one of the studies, described his findings:

Prior studies have shown differences in stroke rates in certain geographical regions among age and racial groups. Few studies have analyzed these differences on a national level. Our study found that nationally, stroke hospitalizations have decreased, though among blacks and young age groups, they have increased.

The other study, by Maiken Tibæk and colleagues, examined registry data on young adults in Denmark and found that first-time hospitalizations for stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) have risen sharply since the mid 1990s.

One of the key risk factors for stroke is obesity, along with complications that follow from untreated obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension. For thirty years now, we have watched the rates of obesity rise, struggled with limited success to prevent it, and largely denied people with obesity access to evidence based care.

The result is a sharply higher rate of severe childhood obesity. Worries about “medicalizing” obesity are moot. Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and a host of other complications will provide plenty of demand for medical services, whether or not we deny them for obesity itself.

Click here for more on the rising rate of strokes in young adults from the Washington Post. Click here and here for the studies in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Early Warning Aircraft, photograph © U.S. Pacific Fleet / flickr

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May 14, 2016

2 Responses to “Early Warning: Strokes Rising in Young Adults”

  1. May 14, 2016 at 11:06 pm, Allen Browne said:


    The evidence keeps accumulating that people with obesity need access to effective, acceptable treatments.

    I lost my clinic nurse to a stroke – she was 33.

    I chose to be inspired rather than discouraged – the kids with obesity are trying so hard – so I can try hard too.

    • May 15, 2016 at 5:16 am, Ted said:

      You’re right Allen. Thanks!