Health News Articles

25% of Strokes Occur in Young People How to Protect Yourself

Aug 8, 2013

A conscientious and healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce the likelihood of having a stroke. While most people think of stroke as a disease that affects the elderly, the truth is that a quarter of all strokes occur in people between the ages of five and 44. In fact, while strokes have been declining among older Americans, they have doubled in young people since the mid-1990s.

“Poor overall health really is the main reason behind what we are seeing in young people,” says Paul Kaiser, MD, board certified in clinical neurophysiology, neurology and vascular neurology and a member of the Medical Staff at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP). “High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol are all risk factors for stroke, and we are seeing these conditions in more and more patients at younger and younger ages. If the person is also a smoker, that raises their chances of having a stroke even further.”

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a blood clot or plaque, and this can cause permanent neurological damage or death. The chances of a young person experiencing a stroke, however, can be greatly reduced by leading a healthy lifestyle, including a good diet, plenty of exercise, and not smoking or abusing alcohol.

“It is extremely important to seek medical attention right away if you experience any signs of stroke or see symptoms in someone else,” says Dr. Kaiser. “Prompt treatment can mean the difference between fully recovering and not surviving a stroke.”

UMCPP is a state-designated Primary Stroke Center, with a comprehensive stroke treatment and recovery protocol to care for patients. The Center for Emergency Care allows for quick diagnosis; acute rehabilitation provides physical, occupational, speech, and psychological therapy; and Princeton HomeCare and the UMCPP Outpatient Rehabilitation Network provide assistance to patients after they have left the hospital.

To find a neurologist affiliated with Princeton HealthCare System, call 1.888.PHCS4YOU (1.888.742.7496) or visit

Signs of a Stroke May Include*:


  • Sudden dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg
  • Sudden blurred or disrupted vision
  • Sudden, severe headache
*American Stroke Association