Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Stroke Health Center

Font Size

Strokes in Children and Young Adults on the Rise

Researchers Say Findings Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Lifestyle Improvements
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Sept. 1, 2011 -- Strokes in children, teens, and young adults are increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S., according to a new study.

Mary G. George, MD, MSPH, and colleagues from the CDC looked at national hospital discharge data from 42 states. They focused on three age groups: 5-14, 15-34, and 35-44. The researchers compared the rate of stroke among these groups from 1995-1996 to 2007-2008.

"The increase in the stroke hospitalization rate from 1995 to 2008 was 30% to 37% higher" among those aged 15-44, says George. The increase was more common in older age groups than the children ages 5 to 14. "In the young adults and adolescents, we were surprised to see that large of an increase."

The researchers also tracked traditional risk factors for stroke. "We found significant increases in high blood pressure, lipid [cholesterol] disorders, diabetes, tobacco use, and obesity ... things we consider traditional risk factors," she tells WebMD.

The researchers evaluated strokes in which bleeding occurs in and around the brain. They evaluated strokes caused by a clot that blocks blood flow to the brain. The clot-caused stroke is known as ischemic.

The most significant findings involved ischemic strokes, George says.

The study is published in the Annals of Neurology. Preliminary study results were presented at the American Stroke Association meeting in Los Angeles earlier this year.

Tracking Stroke Among Young People

While stroke is often thought of as an older person's health problem, recent research has found that strokes in youths and young adults account for up to 10% of all strokes.

While ischemic strokes in older people have been declining in the past 15 years, they have been increasing among younger people.

In the new research, George's team also found that:

  • Hospitalizations for ischemic stroke rose for both sexes in all age groups except girls 5 to 14.
  • Men had the largest increase in ischemic strokes. For men 35 to 44, it rose 50% over the time period studied. For those 15 to 34, it rose 46%. For boys 5 to 14, it rose about 51%. Put in other terms, 3.1 of every 10,000 hospitalizations for boys 5 to 14 were for ischemic stroke in 1995-1996. For 2007-2008, it was 4.7 per 10,000.
  • Women 35 to 44 had a 29% increase in ischemic strokes. Women 15 to 34 had a 23% increase. For girls 5 to 14, the increase was under 3%.

Today on WebMD

brain illustration stroke
Know these 5 signs.
brain scans
Test your stroke smarts.
woman with migraine
Is there a link?
brain scan
Get the facts.
brain scans
woman with migraine
brain scan
senior man stretching pre workout
Floor level view of therapist helping stroke patie
concerned woman
Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow