A new study indicates that strokes, most common among older adults, are increasingly striking young and middle-aged adults. The research, published in the journal Neurology, shows that the rate of strokes among adults younger than 55 nearly doubled between 1993 and 2005.
The study also reports that the average age of people who experienced a stroke dropped by two years, from 71 in 1994 to 69 in 2005.
"The reasons for this trend could be a rise in risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol," study author Dr. Brett Kissela told NBC News. "Regardless, the rising trend found in our study is of great concern for public health, because strokes in younger people translate to greater lifetime disability."
More than 800,000 people die in the U.S. each year from cardiovascular disease and strokes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stroke can also cause paralysis, and speech and emotional difficulties. About 80 percent of all strokes are preventable, according to the American Stroke Association.