New research finds that increasing numbers of young and middle-aged Americans are arriving at emergency rooms seeking treatment for stroke, a condition usually associated with the senior years.

Researchers say a link may exist between these incidences and growing numbers of obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure among Americans of all ages. Over 75 million Americans, one third of the population, are considered obese. The number of Americans with type 2 diabetes is approaching 26 million. Over 74 million Americans have high blood pressure.

Avoid Heart Attack and Stroke

Practice Good Eating Habits

Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fats.

Select fat-free, one percent and low-fat dairy products.

Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans (unsaturated) fat.

Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol.

Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.

Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. One teaspoonful of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.

Drink alcohol in moderation. Women should have no more than one drink per day (1.5 oz. of hard liquor or 5 oz. of wine or 12 oz. of beer), and men should have no more than two.

See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity for more tips on nutrition.


Exercise is essential for good health. To achieve and maintain healthy body weight, adults should do the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Children and adolescents ages six and older should engage in 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. Youngsters between the ages of two and five should engage in active play several times a day.

Take Your Medicine

You can reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke even if you have CAD, high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. Always take your prescribed medication for these conditions as directed.

Recognizing stroke

A stroke occurs when the brain’s blood and oxygen supply is interrupted or blocked by either a blood clot or build-up of plaque (ischemic stroke) or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts (hemorrhagic stroke). The disruption damages the brain.

As suddenly as they appear, stroke symptoms sometimes vanish. However, these signals should not be dismissed as they can be indicative of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, itself sometimes a warning that a massive stroke may be about to occur. Prompt treatment of a TIA with drugs or surgery can help prevent such tragedy.

About 795,000Americans fall victim to strokes every year and 137,000 die. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious long-term disability.

Even if symptoms quickly go away, call 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone else has any signs of stroke. Probability and degree of recovery often depend on quick treatment.

[Janet Lubman Rathner]