Increasing Stroke Risk Among Younger Adults: Key Findings and Prevention Tips

A recent CDC study reveals a concerning trend: strokes are becoming more common among adults under 65.

Key Findings:

Rising Stroke Rates: The CDC reports that the prevalence of stroke in adults aged 45-64 has increased by 15%, and by 14.6% in adults aged 18-44 over the past decade.

Demographic Disparities: Strokes remain most common among Americans 65 and older, but their incidence has plateaued. In contrast, younger adults are experiencing a rise in stroke rates, which is concerning given their relatively low overall risk.

Associated Risk Factors: Increases in obesity and high blood pressure among younger adults are likely contributing to the higher stroke rates. Between 1999-2000 and 2017-2018, the prevalence of high blood pressure among adults aged 45-64 rose by more than 6%.

Expert Insights:

Dr. Gregory W. Albers, Director of the Stanford Stroke Center, highlights the parallel rise in obesity and hypertension among younger populations as alarming trends that correlate with increased stroke rates.

Dr. Matthew S. Schrag, a Vascular Neurologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, emphasizes that high blood pressure is a significant stroke risk factor across all demographics.

Demographic and Socioeconomic Disparities:

Racial and Ethnic Variations: Stroke prevalence is highest among American Indian/Alaska Native (5.3%), Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (4.4%), and Black adults (4.3%). Over the study period, stroke prevalence increased notably among Black (7.8%), White (7.2%), and Hispanic (16.1%) adults.

Educational Impact: Adults with less than a high school education experienced the most significant increase in stroke prevalence at 18.2%.

Geographic Disparities: The southeastern United States, known as the “stroke belt,” continues to have higher stroke rates compared to other regions.

Prevention Strategies:

Dr. Omoye Imoisili, a researcher at the CDC, suggests several lifestyle changes to reduce stroke risk:

  • Healthy Diet: Choose nutritious food and beverages.
  • Maintain Healthy Weight: Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Avoid Smoking: Smoking cessation is crucial for stroke prevention.
  • Limit Alcohol: Reducing alcohol intake can lower stroke risk.
  • Control Blood Pressure: Monitor and manage blood pressure with the help of healthcare providers.


The CDC report highlights an increasing stroke risk among younger adults, driven by rising obesity and hypertension rates. While older adults continue to have the highest stroke prevalence, younger populations must be vigilant about stroke prevention. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits and managing risk factors are key steps in mitigating stroke risk.

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