Are strokes at a young age common?

5 answers | Last updated: Oct 09, 2010
Kerry asked...

My brother just had a stroke at the age of 44. Is is typical for this to happen so young?

Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

It is not typical, but also not completely uncommon.  Stroke in a young person is often caused by different diseases than stroke in older people.  Unlike the common ailments of old-age, such as cholesterol plaques, irregular heart rhythms, etc., stroke in the young requires a different evaluation.

Things to consider would be 1) Inborn heart ailments - such as a hole in the heart or valve disease; 2) Genetic clotting disorder; 3) Disease of the arteries such as a tear or genetic vessel disease.  In addition, if he has very poorly controlled health problems, particularly smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, or very elevated cholesterol, he may simply have elevated aging of the arteries which caused a more "standard" stroke.

I would have his case evaluated by a stroke specialist.  Issues to address are obtaining thorough heart studies - both of the heart structure and rhythm, thorough arterial studies, and thorough clotting studies.  At his age, he deserves a specialized evaluation.  This may also be helpful in reassuring family members that there is no genetic predisposition to stroke.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I had my stroke at age 46. It left me paralyzed on my right side. The hospital I went to was supposed to be the best in the city. they failed miserably. They treated me for anxiety as I am a female.They did not do an MRI for almost 24 hours and by then it was too late. If you are female and display any symptoms of a stroke, advocate for yourself! Fight hard as you know your body best.

Kissapug answered...

I am a female, and had a mini stroke at 41. Stress is what caused mine, but I have improved alot since then and get all of my routine physical exams, and even saw a cardiologist an they scanned all of my arteries to make sure I dont have anymore blockages.

Helen61 answered...

I had my stroke at 38 and a brain operation i have heard even kids have had strokes.What caused mine was a piece of tissue was loose at the nape of my neck causing restriction on the blood flow.

Ceetrek answered...

In December 2005 I had an abnormal experience, where I felt like my brain was systematicly shutting down, and I began to loose all control over my muscles, I ended up laying on the floor alone in my rented house for what seemed like an eternity but was probably 20-30 minutes, unable to move, unable to speak or call for help, yet completely aware of what was happening to me yet no idea what it was, and the odd thing is that I cannot recall any pain. i remember the first thing i could move was the fingers on my left hand and slowly the feeling came in my arm up to my shoulder and spread both up towards my head and down towards my feet, eventually I regained all sensation and control over my body, but I was left with a numb patch on the left side of my head that felt like it wasn't there at all. I lost a lot of my memory, which is still coming back today, and the simplest of tasks were very hard for me. I am now 29 years old. was this a stroke I had? I do not recall going to a hospital, in this confused state.