In a new study from Houston Methodist Hospital, researchers found new cases of a debilitating and often deadly type of stroke that causes bleeding in the brain have been increasing in the U.S..
It grows at an even faster rate among younger to middle-aged adults than older ones.
The team found an 11% increase over the past decade and a half in intracerebral hemorrhage strokes, referred to as ICH strokes.
ICH strokes occur when blood vessels in the brain rupture and bleed. They are the second most common type, accounting for 10%-15% of the estimated 795,000 strokes each year in the U.S.
Globally in 2020, 18.9 million people had an intracerebral hemorrhage, according to the AHA’s most recent heart and stroke statistics report. They are more deadly and more likely to cause long-term disability than other types of stroke.
In the new study, the team used data from 803,230 ICH hospitalizations. They calculated the rate of ICH over five consecutive three-year periods from 2004 to 2018.
People were divided into four age groups: 18-44 years; 45-64 years; 65-74 years; and 75 years and older.
Overall, researchers found an 11% increase in the rate of ICH among U.S. adults over the 15-year study period. ICH increased at a faster rate for adults under age 65 compared to those 75 and older.
The rate of increase also varied by region, climbing faster in the South, West and Midwest than it did in the Northeast. ICH stroke rates were 43% higher for men than women.
Among those who had ICH strokes, the percentage of people who had high blood pressure also rose, from 74.5% to 86.4% over the study period.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for an ICH stroke, as is increasing age.
The findings are alarming because they suggest blood pressure is so poorly controlled among younger adults that they risk losing the most productive years of their lives.
The team says ICH occurs after decades of vascular damage from unmanaged high blood pressure.
Doctors need to be teaching people to adopt a healthy diet, engage in regular physical activity, avoid heavy alcohol and drug use and monitor for vascular risk factors during young adulthood.
This is the only way to ensure the problem does not become symptomatic by the time they reach their 40s and 50s.
If you care about stroke, please read studies about an important cause of stroke, and antioxidant drug that could protect against stroke and heart attack.
The study is published in Stroke and was conducted by Abdulaziz Bako et al.
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