What are the risk factors for stroke in young adults?

The risk factors of stroke in older adults include high cholesterol levels and hypertension. Younger adults can also have these risk factors, but they’re more likely to require stroke care for other reasons. You can hear about these reasons when you watch this featured interview with a stroke care specialist at Southern Hills Hospital.

Drug use and stroke risk
One of the things stroke care teams consider is the possibility of illicit drug use. Drugs like cocaine and amphetamines are a well-known cause of stroke.

Amphetamines: Amphetamines can cause stroke even among new users, either during or after their use. Amphetamines result in rapid changes in heart functioning and blood pressure. Long-term amphetamine use increases stroke risk by affecting the blood vessels in the brain.

Cocaine: Long-term use can cause cerebrovascular disease, which raises the risk of stroke even in younger adults without other risk factors. Short-term use can also cause stroke by causing bleeding on the brain.

Blood vessel malformations and stroke risk
Arteriovenous malformation is an abnormality that affects the blood vessels in or on the brain. Over time, the weakened blood vessels can rupture and bleed on the brain, causing stroke.

Some people with abnormal blood vessels experience warning signs that there is a problem, such as seizures, localized head pain and functional impairments like vision or speech problems.

Holes in the heart and stroke risk
It’s possible to have a hole in the heart. One example is a patent foramen ovale, which is a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart. A hole in the heart adversely affects the circulation of blood, and it raises the risk of a blood clot traveling to the brain—causing stroke.

Southern Hills Hospital is a certified Primary Stroke Center. Our stroke care team coordinates with EMS personnel, so we are ready to diagnose and treat the patient as soon as he or she arrives at our hospital in Las Vegas. Call 911 for emergency care for a stroke, or, for non-emergent questions only, call a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.

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