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‘Stroke affects young people too’

Research reveals more than half of the UK population believe stroke only affects older adults

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More than half of the UK population wrongly believe that strokes don’t happen to young adults, according to new research revealed today. 

Despite 54 per cent of UK adults knowing someone who has had a stroke, 60 per cent of the public think that the condition only affects older people,  Stroke Association research has found – whereas in fact one in four strokes happen in people of working age.

The charity has released the data ahead of World Stroke Day on Sunday, to warn that not only can stroke affect anyone at any age, but that young stroke survivors are missing out on significant milestones in their lives as a result.

The charity also carried out a survey of over 2,800 stroke survivors, which also found that a quarter of young stroke survivors aged 18-60 (25 per cent) feel their stroke has robbed them of their future.

Over a third of survivors aged between 18-60 (37 per cent) said that before their stroke, they didn’t think strokes happened to people of their age. 

More than half of these young stroke survivors (56 per cent) say their stroke has prevented them achieving an important life goal, such as progressing their careers or starting new relationships.

Worryingly, a quarter of stroke survivors aged 60 and under (25 per cent) also said they had initially been diagnosed with another illness or condition, before being diagnosed with a stroke. 

The Stroke Association is warning that younger adults are potentially being misdiagnosed because even health professionals may not suspect a stroke when a younger adult has stroke symptoms.

For survivors aged 18-60, the Stroke Association’s survey also revealed:

·         Over half of stroke survivors (51 per cent) said their stroke had negatively impacted their careers, and stopped them getting a job, being promoted or changing career

·         A quarter of stroke survivors (26 per cent) said their stroke had stopped them achieving their dream of going travelling

·         Around 16 per cent of stroke survivors said their stroke had stopped them from making new friends

·         More than one in ten (11 per cent) said their stroke prevented them from gaining new qualifications

·         Almost one in ten (nine per cent) said their stroke has stopped them finding a partner.

There are over 100,000 strokes each year and 1.3million stroke survivors living in the UK today, with these numbers only set to grow. 

With an increasing number of people surviving stroke and an ageing population, by 2035, the number of stroke survivors living in the UK is expected to rise to over 2million. 

The estimated overall cost of stroke in the UK is set to rise from £26billion in 2015 to £75billion in 2035, an increase of 194 per cent over 20 years, presenting increasing societal challenges in future.

Alexis Kolodziej, executive director at the Stroke Association, said: Our research highlights that people still think stroke is a condition that only affects older people. It’s crucial that we challenge this misconception and make people aware that stroke affects young adults too.

“Stroke simply shouldn’t be a key milestone in a young adult’s life. When planning for the future, no one prepares to have a stroke. Yet one in four strokes happen in people of working age and around 400 children have a stroke in the UK every year.

“After a stroke, life changes in a flash. Two thirds of people who survive a stroke find themselves living with a disability. As a result, young stroke survivors are having important milestones and their planned futures stolen from them, while they have to learn to adapt to their new life affected by stroke.

“At the Stroke Association, we know the value that life after stroke support plays in rebuilding lives. A stroke doesn’t have to stop you from doing the things you want to do. The Stroke Association provides support that covers every aspect of a survivor’s recovery, so you are not just living to survive, but able to live life again.”

  • To find local support from the Stroke Association, visit here

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