Ahead of World Stroke Day, October 29, physicians from the Get Ahead of Stroke® campaign are highlighting a sobering statistic: While the prevalence of stroke in the United States is declining in adults 75 and older, it is rising in adults 49 and younger. Knowing the signs of stroke is more important now than ever before, as young adults across the nation are experiencing life-threatening strokes, without being able to identify what is happening to them.
Similar trends are occurring across the world, as a recent study in England found a 67% increase in stroke incidence among participants younger than 55 years old and a 15% decrease in stroke incidence among participants 55 years old or older. These findings may be surprising to many, as stroke is often considered a disease of old age.
“Many Americans think they don’t need to learn about stroke until they or their loved ones are older, but given the recent research, it’s important for everyone to be aware of the symptoms and call 911 right away when they suspect stroke,” said Mahesh Jayaraman, MD, an interventional neuroradiologist at Rhode Island Hospital and president of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS). “BE FAST, an acronym used to spot signs of stroke, is something every household should commit to memory. Should you notice someone exhibit these symptoms: (B) loss of balance, (E) loss of or blurry eyesight, (F) face drooping, (A) arm weakness, or (S) speech difficulty, then (T) it’s time to call 911.”
Two million brain cells die every minute a stroke goes untreated, therefore the quicker a patient gets to appropriate care, the greater chance they have for survival and a life without disability. However, if stroke patients and their loved ones do not know the signs of stroke, their likelihood of receiving appropriate, lifesaving treatment drastically decreases. Knowing that stroke can occur at any age, the public must remember that calling 911 is never an overreaction — stroke is always an emergency.
“This World Stroke Day, we hope Americans remember that anyone, at any age can have a stroke. While this fact may be frightening, stroke treatment is available, and it can increase the chances that stroke patients not only survive, but live without major disabilities. A minimally invasive procedure called a thrombectomy has been proven effective in treating severe stroke. There is hope, as long as we remember to call 911,” said Dr. Jayaraman.
Since 2016, Get Ahead of Stroke® has worked to improve stroke systems of care through policy changes that help ensure severe stroke patients get the level of care they need to survive and thrive. Through its public awareness and advocacy activities, the campaign has meaningfully helped improve stroke systems across the country, benefitting thousands of patients. Visit www.getaheadofstroke.org/call911 for information on BE FAST, stroke survivor stories and more.
To coordinate interviews with leading stroke surgeons and patients, please contact Camille Jewell at [email protected]