Strokes: not just for the elderly

By JESSIE OWENSBY

Staff Writer

 

Most college students are not concerned with risk factors related to stroke. Strokes are considered “old people” problems. But, that’s not actually correct. It is a fact that strokes in Americans increase with age, but it does not mean that college students are immune. Listen up, Piedmont. Here comes a correction and a reality check. 

A stroke is an interruption in the blood flow of the brain, and it is mostly caused by a blood clot that travels to the brain, according to the American Heart Association, or AHA. Strokes are steadily increasing in people under age 45 for a number of reasons. 

First, according to the journal Everyday Health, one reason is obesity. Obesity leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. All of these issues are risk factors that lead to stroke according to the AHA. 

Some other reasons that people under age 45 are having stroke is because of migraines, pregnancy, birth control pills and smoking. Smoking, according to the AHA, narrows the veins and arteries in people, which makes it harder to pump blood to the brain properly, and it makes it easier for a clot to form. When someone couples smoking with birth control pills, the probability of experiencing a severe stroke increases. Also, people who experiment with drugs, especially cocaine, could see an exponential rise in suffering from a stroke. 

According to a report by Everyday Health, everyone is born with a hole in the heart. Approximately 75 percent of people live a normal life, and the hole naturally grows together. But for about 25 percent, it does not. This defect can lead to strokes.

Young people are at risk for stroke, and it’s time Piedmont students start paying attention. There is a simple test that we can all do to tell if we are having a stroke. It is a very simple acronym that everyone should memorize. The American Stroke Association calls it the F.A.S.T. test.

It is important to note that you can have one or all of the symptoms. Just because we are young does not mean that we are invincible. The American Heart Association said the best way to prevent a stroke is “eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise, even if it’s only 30 minutes a day.” 

 

F– Face- It’s as simple as a smile. If one side droops or the smile is uneven, you may be having a stroke.

A-Arms. Hold your arms out in front of you. If one arm droops or is too heavy to hold up, you may be having a stroke.

S– Speech. Repeat a simple sentence like “It’s sunny outside today.” If you can’t say it or if it comes out differently than intended, you may be having a stroke.

T– Time. Time is of the essence. Call 911 if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms. Seeking medical help as soon as the symptoms arise is important because the stroke can actually be reversed within three hours of the onset of the symptoms, according to Genentech, the pharmaceutical company that supplies the clot-busting drug.