More Millennials Are Having Strokes

Jun 28, 2017

By Dina Fine Maron

Not all of Mitchell Elkind’s stroke patients are on social security. In recent years he has treated devastating attacks in people as young as 18. And he is not alone. A growing body of research indicates strokes among U.S. millennials—ages 18 to 34—have soared in recent years.

But an analysis by Scientific American has revealed significant differences in where these strokes are occurring, depending both on region and whether people live in rural or urban settings. The investigation, which used data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), was reviewed by five stroke experts and found that the West and Midwest have seen especially worrisome increases among younger adults. Moreover, large cities appear to have seen bigger increases than rural areas. The analysis employed hospital discharge data from 2003 to 2012 from the AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) database.

The findings align with earlier studies that pointed to nationwide increases in strokes in this age group: In a study published earlier this year in JAMA Neurology, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that in a nine-year span from 2003 to 2012 there was a 32 percent spike in strokes among 18- to 34-year-old women and a 15 percent increase for men in the same range. Scientific American’s analysis sought to dig deeper into the data by exploring whether the stroke trend differed by location.

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14 comments on “More Millennials Are Having Strokes

  • I’d like to forward an hypothesis. The number of stimulants that these kids have available to them is staggering. Shit that did not exist 20-30 years ago. These “energy drinks” and “5 hour energy shots” are powerful stimulants. I am quite sensitive to caffeine and avoid it (I literally thought I was an insomniac and was medicated for the condition — turns out I cannot tolerate caffeine) — anyway, this avoidance has caused me to kind of internally notice when someone else consumes these types of products.

    My students bring 24 oz. coffees and 20 oz. monster energy drinks routinely into class… Also, the stress level that kids are subject to has ratcheted up — Kids take high stakes standardized tests as young as 6 years old!! So, let’s look at the objective reality of an 18 year old in 2017. They’ve been stressed since 6, the consume a crazy amount of stimulants (let’s throw in adderall and other AMPHETAMINES that are routinely prescribed for CHILDREN)…

    I think my hypothesis is pretty strong on this one. The average kid of 20 years old, here in 2017 probably lives in a stress and stimulant environment that is equivalent to the cumulative levels of exposure that we’d have had by age 40 in decades gone by.



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  • Crooked, I live in a rural area. Most of the twenty and thirty year old here had parents that were
    alcoholics or drug addicts.
    This combined with the factors you state are not a surprising outcome.
    I am sixty two. I have been watching younger people than when I was growing up consuming massive amounts of caffeine.
    I bought some energy drink by accident. It made me sick for two days.
    The parents might want to think about the youngest they would give a child caffeine. I don’t think
    they would give a baby a coffee to drink.



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  • @OP – Moreover, large cities appear to have seen bigger increases than rural areas.

    Cities are crowded, with more and more people packed into progressively smaller personal spaces, offices, shops, houses, flats, and rooms. City dwellers also have predominantly flat paved areas and usually move in motorised transport.

    Many get so little exercise that they need exercise bikes or gym sessions just to get basic exercise.

    As Crookedshoes points out, the use of high sugar foods and drinks along with stimulants, is a recipe for stress and obesity, even before the competitive pressures of work and living in close association with others, kick in!

    Crookedshoes – My students bring 24 oz. coffees and 20 oz. monster energy drinks routinely into class

    My family has been brought up to generally drink slightly diluted fruit juices, rather than carbonated sugar drinks or cola.
    While I like a mild cup of instant coffee, I find the thick gunk served by Starbucks etc. repulsive.

    As I have got older, I have become aware of significant numbers of people who are 20 years or more younger than myself, who look old, and are struggling with their fitness and mobility.
    (Smokers very much so!)



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  • hardy #5
    Jun 29, 2017 at 6:09 am

    I think Alf is right .
    Stress has recently been found to have a lesser effect on strokes, ulcers etc than formerly thought.

    I think there are several factors.
    Blood pressure is related to stress, but it is also related to constricted fatty arteries.
    Large areas of fatty tissue not only contribute weight to carry around, but also increase the volume of blood contained in the additional blood vessels, so this tends to distribute and weaken the flow of the circulation, needing more pressure from the heart to keep it moving.

    Stimulants taken when seated, tend to cause the body to “over rev ” – (like a car stopped in neutral gear with the throttle wide open), – while actually doing no physical work – as would be the case of an increased heart rate during exercise, where calories are being burned by muscles.



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  • as a side note. You’ve had decades of public mythology and ads about the evils of over stimulation by coffee in the US. Whilst here in Europe theres never been any such outcry .



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  • The data is that millennials have seen a 32% increase in strokes. The hypothesis that has been proffered is exactly what it was labelled — an hypothesis. As far as “anecdotes” — these are observations. Last time i checked these two exercises (observation and hypothesis generation) are a vital portion of the scientific method. We are simply having conversation, not at all fostering answers that are data driven statistically analyzed conclusions.

    As far as public mythology regarding the evils of overstimulation by coffee — Are Europeans routinely imbibing BUCKETS of coffee? Also, a monster energy drink has 54 grams of sugar per 16 ounces. So, a 20 ounce can has caffeine (240 mg)but add in 81 grams of sugar! Also, I do not ever remember children routinely drinking coffee is previous generations. It was always framed as something the grown ups enjoyed. Further, a cup of coffee was, I don’t know, 6-8 ounces?

    I appreciate the conversation and even being taken to task for anecdotes. I especially like the point that Alf brings to the conversation. I hadn’t thought of the millennials as children of, well…. us! Perhaps it will be teased out that many of these are contributing factors (and as Hardy points out) maybe some will be red herrings and a counterintuitive process is going on.



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  • And Crooked shoes and Mr Dna is right. This is not data, simple observations.
    I see alot of brain damaged kids in their twentys that had parents who were alcoholics or drug addicts.
    I have seen the rise of caffeine and obesity and the stress increase in society.
    But this is from my point of observation. And that is myopic.



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  • Hardy, I am assuming (please) that in Europe obesity is not as prevalent? Are people generally (please allow) more active?
    (I enjoy assuming and generalizing even though i know its wrong)



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  • Hardy

    The french drink cafe au lait from a gigantic cup but only in the morning. After that they drink espresso from teeny cups but no limit to how many for the rest of the day. Those have a heap of sugar in them. The only people drinking small buckets of coffee in the middle or end of the day in Paris are the Americans who order cafe au lait all day long there. Gauche.

    Alf

    Every time I’m in Paris I lose three pounds per week and that’s even with my stopping into those astounding bakeries several times every day. And the bread, jeezis the bread! In N. Africa I lose five pounds per week. Then I get back to the States and chuck it all back on. I’d like to open a spa in N. Africa for American fatties and make a million bucks. Investors get in line.

    Yes Alf, the French are gorgeous, stylish and skinny in general! It’s not ok to be fat and dowdy in Paris. Not ok.



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