Emergency care physicians often treat victims of stroke who are of advanced age. While being an older adult does increase the risk of stroke, emergency care experts note an alarming trend toward an increase in stroke among younger patients. Anyone can suffer a stroke, including infants, older children, teenagers, and young adults. Among older adults, the most common cause of stroke is a blood clot in the brain. Among younger patients, other problems may be the reason behind a reduced blood supply to the brain and a subsequent trip to the emergency care department.
Young patients may be particularly prone to suffering a stroke because of cardiogenic causes. In other words, they may have cardiac defects such as heart valve abnormalities or rheumatic heart disease. Rheumatic heart disease, which is caused by rheumatic fever, is a condition that involves permanent damage to the heart. Some patients may also be at a higher risk of suffering a stroke because of patent foramen ovale, which is a congenital heart defect that involves a hole between the right and left sides of the organ.
Sometimes, stroke among younger patients is attributable to vascular causes. These can include a dissecting blood vessel in the neck. This occurs when the blood vessel sustains a small tear. The tear subsequently leads to the formation of a blood clot, which is then transported to the brain where it can obstruct blood flow.
Lifestyle factors are often a consideration when diagnosing stroke in younger patients. Drug use is of particular concern. Researchers have discovered that users of cocaine and crack have alterations in blood flow, which can lead to a stroke and permanent brain damage. Specifically, stimulant drugs can lead to a stroke because they increase blood pressure and affect the blood vessel walls. This increases the risk of a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.
As a Primary Stroke Center, Fawcett Memorial Hospital features a multidisciplinary team of highly trained specialists that is dedicated to saving the lives of our neighbors in the Port Charlotte area. If you require emergency care, turn to the trusted experts at our hospital. Residents throughout the area, including those in Punta Gorda and North Port, are encouraged to contact our hospital at (888) 685-1599.