According to a study published in medical journal, The Lancet, there has been an increase of 25 percent in the last 20 years in the 20- to 64-year-old age bracket either affected or dying due to stroke.
Strokes in these age brackets, compared to only 25 percent before 1990, now comprise 31 percent of the global number of strokes.
"Despite some improvements in stroke prevention and management in high-income countries, the growth and ageing of the global population is leading to a rise in the number of young and old patients with stroke," according to researchers from the University of Burgundy in France.
The worldwide stroke burden, according to Dr. Valery Feigin, director of the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences at AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand, "is growing very fast."
"There is now an urgent need for culturally acceptable and affordable stroke prevention, management and rehabilitation strategies to be developed and implemented worldwide," Feigin, who worked on the research, said in a statement.
Major factors being blamed for the percentage rise include having risk factors such as obesity and diabetes at a younger age. Others are caused by recreational drugs and alcohol abuse.
Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people who experienced their first stroke increased to 68 percent or 16.9 million. The number of global stroke survivors likewise increased 84 percent to 33 million.
However, what's alarming is that the number of people suffering from a disability due to a stroke also jumped 10 percent to 102 million.
If the rate jump goes on, researchers said the global number of people affected by stroke will double by 2030.
"The increase may be due to a rise in risk factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol," Dr. Sandra Chapman, a neuroscientist and founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas, "as well as inability to get proper preventative and ameliorative medical care."
Researchers said the disease is still highly preventable but needs a lot of discipline to accomplish.
"While stroke is still a disease that is much more common in older people, it is also a disease that we can, to a large part, prevent with lifestyle changes," Chapman said, "such as healthy eating habits and physical exercise, as well as the cessation of cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse. It is important for individuals to monitor their blood pressure and cholesterol."
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