Only about 27 percent of adults younger than 45 said that they would seek medical help if they experienced stroke symptoms – such as weakness, numbness, difficulty speaking – while the rest of them stated that they would not immediately go to a hospital.
The results are quite alarming, because getting treatment within the first three hours after a stroke – referred to as the ‘golden window’ – can make a huge different in the patient’s recovery, the researchers say.
Dr. David Liebeskind, a neurologist at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, stated that timely treatment for stroke is one of the most important things. Since the mid-1990s, strokes in people ages eighteen to forty-five have increase by more than fifty percent – which is why it is important for young adults to make the right decision when faced with stroke symptoms, Dr. Liebeskind explained.
In 2013, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that in the United States stroke was the fifth-leading cause of death. (The other causes of death includ respiratory disease, heart disease, cancer, and accidents.) About 130,000 people in the U.S. died in 2013 because of strokes, and almost 800,000 Americans experience a stroke every year.
A 2012 study published in the journal Stroke suggested that no more than forty-two individuals had their brain imaged within twenty-five minutes of arriving to the hospital. That is a crucial diagnostic procedure, experts say.
The new study says that people may actually diagnose the problem before even reaching the hospital. More than 1,000 people took part in the new national survey. Researchers found that most young adults would choose to postpone going to the hospital when experiencing stroke symptoms.
According to Dr. Liebeskind, younger people need to be educated about stroke symptoms and what to do in that type of situation, because that could help save their lives. In 2010, researchers found that about seven percent of the strokes in 2005 occurred in people ages twenty to forty-five.
To quickly identify the common symptoms of stroke, physicians use the “Act FAST” mnemonic, which stands for:
- F (Face): one side of a person’s face drops when they smile;
- A (Arms): one arm drifts downward when the person raises both arms;
- S (Speech): strange or slurred speech when repeating a simple phrase;
- T (Time): call 9-1-1 immediately if any of the symptoms are observed.
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