(HealthDay News) – Stroke incidence seems to be increasing in younger age groups, with the trend seen in both black and white patients, according to a study published online Oct 8 in Neurology.

Brett M Kissela, MD, from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues examined age trends over time using data from the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Study. Strokes were identified in the cohort between July 1, 1993, and June 30, 1994, and in calendar years 1999 and 2005.

The researchers found that, from 1993/4–2005, the mean age at stroke decreased significantly, from 71.2 to 69.2 years, and there was an increase in the proportion of strokes in people <55, from 12.9% to 18.6%. Compared with earlier periods, there was a significant change over time, characterized as a shift to younger strokes in 2005. In 2005, the stroke incidence rates in patients aged 20–54 years of age were significantly increased in both black and white patients, compared to earlier periods.

“We found trends toward increasing stroke incidence at younger ages,” the authors write. “This is of great public health significance because strokes in younger patients carry the potential for greater lifetime burden of disability and because some potential contributors identified for this trend are modifiable.”

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