The death of Luke Perry, who suffered a massive stroke last week before dying Monday, has shed light on a serious condition that is often overlooked by seemingly healthy individuals and younger generations.
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The star of “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Riverdale” was 52 years old when he died. Until now, many regarded strokes as something that affected only seniors but Perry’s death has shown that the condition can occur at any age.
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, the risk of stroke doubles for each decade after the age of 55, with the vast majority of cases impacting older generations. However, experts have found that at least 38 percent of first-time strokes are happening in adults between the ages of 40 to 69.
“Strokes can happen to people of all ages, contrary to the belief that young people are not affected,” said Dr. Emer MacSweeney, consultant neuroradiologist at Re:Cognition Health, according to Yahoo Lifestyle. “Risk factors which make people more susceptible to stroke include high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, pregnancy, contraceptive pill, migraine and smoking.”
The National Stroke Association reports that stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. yet research shows that few people know what a stroke is and how to recognize when it is happening. The American Stroke Association explains that a stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain either becomes blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood it needs, so it dies.
Each year about 185,000 people die from a stroke, according to The National Stroke Association, but learning the many warning signs of a stroke can help save a life. The organization suggests using the “F.A.S.T” acronym to identify the warning signs:
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
The National Stroke Association further recommended calling 911 immediately if symptoms are showing.
“Time is essential when having a stroke, therefore it is essential to act fast,” said Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa, director at Your Doctor, according to Yahoo Lifestyle. “The quicker the stroke victim gets to the hospital, the faster the doctors can try to reduce the effects of the stroke.”