According to a report in the British Medical Journal, stroke mortality rates in the UK between 2001 and 2010 dropped by 55 percent. The drop was not consistent in all age groups, with an increase of 2 percent each year in adults aged between 35 to 55 years. The report suggests that the rise in stroke across younger age categories could be due to a number of reasons from female contraceptives increasing the risk of blood clots, which can lead to strokes, to obesity and high blood pressure.
Contraceptives and Stroke
The vast majority of oral contraceptives consist of estrogen and progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone. Although the risk is low, it is believed that these hormones can be responsible for causing blood clots during pregnancy. There are certain factors that can exacerbate the risk, such as thrombophilia (a history of thrombosis).
The increase in the number of young people with Type 2 diabetes is another contributing factor behind the rise of stroke cases in young people. Diabetes can cause damage to cardio-vascular health by inflicting damage to the blood vessels. High levels of blood sugars which cannot be stored by the body result in sugar attaching itself to the body’s red blood cells. Over time, continuously high blood sugar levels can block and damage the major arteries and veins and consequently, deprive the brain of oxygen, leading to stroke.
You can reduce the risk of experiencing a stroke by controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels, by keeping track of what you’re eating and getting frequent exercise.
Diabetes typically occurs past the age of 40 in Caucasians, and after 25 in individuals of African-Caribbean, Black African or South Asian origin. Regardless, findings by Diabetes UK predict that by 2025 more than five million people will have diabetes in the UK. Not only does diabetes double your risk of having a stroke, it is also responsible for causing more than 30 cases of vision loss in the UK every week and 8,793 amputations in 2018.
The younger you start smoking, the more damage your body endures. Smoking depletes the amount of “good cholesterol” (or HDL, high-density lipoprotein) in blood, while raising the amount of “bad cholesterol” (LDL or low-density lipoprotein) in your blood. Moreover, the harmful compounds in cigarettes such as: cadmium, carbon monoxide, tar and ammonia multiply the risk of stroke from smoking, through damaging the cells in your body. The highly addictive substance in cigarettes, nicotine, adds to this risk by causing high blood pressure. A 2017 report by the Stroke Association underlined the role of smoking in increasing an individual’s risk of stroke. Smokers, who had over 20 cigarettes a day, were six times more likely to have a stroke compared to a non-smoker.