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Stroke can strike people at any age

Sunday, May 1, 2022

By: Alysha Schertz

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Dr. Darkhabani BayCare Clinic Interventional Neurology

Thinking stroke is something that only affects the elderly?

Think again.

Strokes can and do happen to people at every age.


According to the National Stroke Association, approximately 15 percent of all ischemic stroke cases occur in people 18 to 55 years old.


Dr. Ziad Darkhabani, interventional neurologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, concurs.


Some reports indicate rates even higher than 15 percent, he says.


“Yes, stroke can happen at any age,” Darkhabani says. “This is not just something that can happen to Grandma or Grandpa, and people need to be aware of that.”


Each year, nearly 800,000 Americans experience a stroke. It is the leading cause of long-term disability.


It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke in people of all ages, Darkhabani says.


“Stroke can be incredibly devastating at any age. That’s why education is so important,” he adds. “Millions of brain cells die when a stroke occurs. The faster patients can seek medical treatment the better chance patients have at a full recovery.”


In 2022, Aurora BayCare Medical Center will celebrate its fifth anniversary of earning recognition as the first certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.


The honor recognizes Aurora BayCare Medical Center providers’ ability to provide the highest level of care for stroke patients in the community.


“Our expert care team and state-of-the-art resources ensure that we have the specific ability to treat the most complex stroke cases,” Darkhabani says.


The signs and symptoms of stroke at any age

The signs and symptoms someone displays while suffering a stroke are the same at any age, Darkhabani says. It’s important to recognize the signs of stroke and seek medical treatment immediately.


How? Pay attention to the BE FAST acronym:

  • B: Balance
    • Sudden loss of balance
  • E: Eyes
    • Sudden changes in vision in either one or both eyes
  • F: Face
    • Weakness or drooping on one side of the face.
  • A: Arm
    • Sudden weakness in one arm or leg
  • S: Speech
    • Sudden loss of speech or slurred speech
  • T: Time
    • Don’t wait. It’s important to act fast and call 911 if any of these symptoms are new or sudden.

A sudden and severe headache may also be a warning sign of stroke.


The number of younger stroke patients has been increasing for decades, and according to Darkhabani has increased with cases of COVID-19.


Still, approximately 80 percent of strokes are preventable, Darkhabani says.


Risk factors of stroke

Age is one risk factor of stroke, but other factors have increased in prevalence in people who are younger, Darkhabani says. Managing specific risk factors may reduce your risk of stroke.


Risk factors may include:

  • Age
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyles or physical inactivity

Dr. Ziad Darkhabani sees patients in Green Bay, Oshkosh, and Marinette. To request an appointment, call 920-288-8044 in Green Bay or 855-819-9935 in Oshkosh or Marinette. Request an online appointment here.

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