Research by UK charity the Stroke Association has revealed that the number of strokes occurring in men and women of working age is rising at an alarming rate, jumping 25% in the last 15 years, challenging the notion that it is a condition of older people.
An analysis of hospital admission data by the charity shows that there were over 4,260 hospital admissions for stroke among men aged between 40 and 54 in England in 2000, but this figure soared to 6,221 in 2014, marking an increase of 46%.
The number of women aged 40-54 admitted to hospital after a stroke in the last 15 years has also dramatically increased - by 30% - from 3,529 in 2000 to 4,604 in 2014, the research shows.
This worrying trend is thought to be the result of increasing sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles as well as changes in hospital admission practice.
Commenting on the findings, Jon Barrick, the Stroke Association’s chief executive, said the “alarming increase” in working age strokes “comes at a huge cost, not only to the individual, but also to their families and to health and social care services”, and he stressed that more must be done to raise awareness of risk factors.
Aside from the health impact, stroke costs the UK economy around £9 billion a year, with loss of income, due to death and disability from stroke alone, coming in at over £1.3 billion.