Young adults may delay ‘timely treatment’ for stroke: survey

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Los Angeles – People younger than 45 may take stroke symptoms lightly and postpone going to a hospital for treatment, according to the results of a survey from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

“Timely treatment for stroke is probably more important than for almost any other medical problem there is,” Dr. David Liebeskind, professor of neurology and Director of Outpatient Stroke and Neurovascular Programs and Director of the Neurovascular Imaging Research Core at the medical center, said in a press release. “There is a very limited window in which to start treatment because the brain is very sensitive to a lack of blood flow or to bleeding, and the longer patients wait, the more devastating the consequences.”

Researchers asked more than 1,000 people about their likely actions within three hours of experiencing common symptoms of stroke, including numbness, weakness, and difficulty seeing or talking. About one-third of respondents younger than 45 said they would very likely go to a hospital while 73 percent said they would likely wait to see if they got better.

Patients should go to a hospital for treatment within three hours after experiencing stroke symptoms to revive blood flow to the brain and limit or reverse damage, according to a press release.

The number of people 18 to 45 treated at U.S. hospitals after experiencing a stroke has increased 53 percent since the mid-1990s, the release states. About 800,000 patients have a stroke each year, and an individual suffers a stroke roughly every 40 seconds in the United States.

Individuals at any age can have an ischemic stroke, during which arteries in the brain are blocked, depriving the brain of oxygen. About 85 percent of stroke patients have this kind of stroke. The condition is connected to high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity. To lower the risk of stroke, eat healthy, regularly exercise, do not smoke and limit drinking of alcohol.

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