More children and young people are suffering strokes in the US, researchers have claimed.

Scientists at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention looked at records from 1995-2008 - approximately eight million people a year. They found that the cases of strokes in those aged five to 44 had risen by a third in under 10 years.

The rate of ischemic stroke - caused by blood clots - increased by 31 per cent in five to 14 year olds - from 3.2 strokes per 10,000 hospital cases to 4.2 per 10,000 cases. There was also a 30 per cent increase for those aged between 15 and 34.

The research, published in the Annals of Neurology, found that men were at greater risk than women. The researchers warned that "the increase in ischemic stroke far outweigh the decreases."

Dr Lorna Layward, from the Stroke Association, said: "A stroke can happen to anyone at any time no matter what age. People usually associate strokes with older people, but a quarter of all strokes happen to people of working age, and around 400 children have a stroke every year in the UK.

"We know that high blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke, along with other factors such as obesity, diabetes, poor diet and smoking. This research emphasises the need for people to be aware that stroke can affect younger people, and for all of us, regardless of our age, to check our blood pressure and adopt a healthy lifestyle."

Posted by Robert Mair on 2.9.11 Please send your comments on this article to: 

 Child stroke story