HOUSTON – May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and along with education on strokes, doctors are looking for answers to why strokes are happening in younger patients.
The American Stroke Association reports more strokes in adults under 50. One Houston doctor says he isn’t sure exactly why this is happening, but thinks our changes in lifestyles could be an answer.
Daniel Gainer had a stroke at just 29 years old. “This was my first real health problem, and out of nowhere it just happened” Daniel Gainer.
His wife says it happened unexpectedly.
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“It started Friday night after Thanksgiving, with him complaining of a really bad headache,” Denisha Brown-Gainer said.
That headache was a stroke, which led to a brain bleed. And after several life-saving efforts by HCA Houston Healthcare 29-year-old Daniel Ganier’s major organs began to fail.
“When Dr. El-Ghanem came, he said the odds were not very good. Even if they could fix it and stop the bleeding, there was not a guarantee that he would survive,” Brown-Gainer said.
Mohammed El-Ghanem, MD with HCA Houston Healthcare was Daniel Ganier’s doctor.
“Mrs. Gainer, I went to her twice, and I was like ‘I don’t think he’s going to survive'” Dr. El-Ghanem said.
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But, doctors were able to stop the bleeding and reverse his organ failure. His doctor says 29 is young for stroke.
The American Stroke Association reports the incidence of stroke among adults ages 49 and younger in the U.S. has continued to increase over the last 30 years.
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“About 15% of all strokes occur in adults 50 or under” Tracie Morden with the American Heart and Stroke Association said.
Doctors caution younger people to know the warning signs for a stroke: face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty, and time to call 9-1-1.
Dr. El-Ghanem says researchers are still looking for answers, but he has an idea why this could be happening. “In my opinion, it’s more of the unhealthy life that we’re living. A lot of junk food, unhealthy food, people tend not to exercise, because of work and their busy lives” Dr. El-Ghanem.
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“Researchers have studied the obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cholesterol of younger people now, and the prevalence is going up” Morden said.
Dr. El-Ghanem also suggests neglecting healthcare or regular doctors visits during the pandemic could also be a reason that we’re seeing strokes in younger people, more often.