Incidence of Stroke Rises Rapidly

by on May 15, 2015

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There has been “an alarming increase” in the number of non-elderly people suffering from strokes in the UK, says the Stroke Association.

For example, there has been an increase of 50% among men aged between 40 and 55 since 2000. Among women the increase is nearly a third.

We all know you are more likely to get a stroke when you are elderly, but this increase among late middle-aged people in the UK has taken everyone by surprise.

The Main Causes

High Blood Pressure – Hypertension

The number one factor in causing stroke is undiagnosed high blood pressure. This can affect even otherwise healthy people with healthy lifestyles.

For example, one person in his mid-40s with a really healthy diet and good bodyweight who was exercising regularly at the gym had no idea he had high blood pressure. Then he had a stroke which took him completely by surprise. If he had known he had high blood pressure there’s no way he would have exercised so vigourously.

So if you haven’t had your blood pressure taken for a while, and especially if you are over forty, it would be wise to take a trip to the doctor.

You can get a rough idea from the “quickie” electronic blood pressure devices you can get from the chemist. But these can be quite inaccurate. And using the proper device with the cuff that goes around your arm needs practice – so your doctor is the best person to do that.


The other main factor in this instance of stroke is our old friend, obesity. Most people are well aware of the health dangers of obesity. But, still it keeps rising.

obese-woman-200wx250hThe World Health Organisation has projected that by 2030 in the UK, 74% of men and 64% of women are likely to be overweight or obese. They call the obesity problem one “of enormous proportions” (no pun intended, I imagine) for most of Europe.

Even worse figures come from Ireland, where 87% of the population will fall into the overweight/obese category.

Of course, for many people it’s just very hard to lose weight – for a whole variety of reasons. But once a person has commitment, there are only a few guidelines needed for how to lose weight. Though a healthy dose of willpower and persistence are also essential.

Other Factors

Of course, having a healthy lifestyle in other ways is good for avoiding a stroke as well as all other health issues. So exercise, avoiding salt, and a poor diet are all going to affect your likelihood of having a stroke.

But high blood pressure is by far the most important factor and second on the list is obesity.

Avoid Risk of a Stroke

The main thing I want you to get from this article is that even people in their 40s are at risk of a stroke – and even people in their 40s who have a very healthy lifestyle.

By far the greatest risk factor is high blood pressure. And many people in their 40s who have had a stroke had high blood pressure – and didn’t know about it.

So, whatever your age, it’s good to have your doctor take your blood pressure regularly. It’s an essential part of self-care to know what your blood pressure is.

Further reading:

Harvard Health Publications: 8 things you can do to prevent a stroke

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