STROKE rates have rocketed by a fifth among young Brits in just a decade – fuelled by obesity and cocaine use.
Oxford University experts warn too many under-55s are unaware they are at risk.
Alamy Researchers believe the obesity epidemic could be partly to blame for the rise in stroke rates among young Brits
It means they are less likely to take steps to protect themselves, such as getting their blood pressure checked.
Deaths from stroke have fallen by 55 per cent overall between 2001 and 2010 thanks to better NHS care, according the British Medical Journal study.
And rates across all age groups have dropped by 20 per cent over a decade.
But Brits aged between 35 to 54-years-old have seen their stroke risk go up dramatically, as the obesity epidemic and hard partying lifestyles take their toll.
Lead researcher Olena Seminog, from the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, said the findings were concerning.
ATTACKS UP BY A FIFTH
She said: “Young people are not aware they need to go to their GP and get their blood pressure checked and doctors are less likely to follow-up someone in their 40s or 50s.
“We think stroke risk among younger people is going up because of the obesity epidemic, diabetes, alcohol and drug misuse, such as taking cocaine.”
A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or internal bleeding.
Every year more than 150,000 Brits have an attack – and it is the leading cause of complex disability.
Researchers analysed data from almost 800,000 English stroke victims between 2001 and 2010.
In men, overall death rates dropped from 140 per 100,000 people in 2001, to 74 per 100,000 people in 2010.
‘STROKE CAN STRIKE ANYONE’
Meanwhile, in women, they decreased from 128 per 100,000 to 72 per 100,000.
The study concluded: “Our findings show that most of the reduction in stroke mortality is a result of improved survival of patients with stroke.
“However, acute and long-term management of such patients is expensive, and the NHS is already spending about 5 per cent of its budget on stroke care.”
Mark McDonald, Deputy Director of Policy and Influencing at the Stroke Association, said Brits are having strokes younger.
He said: “Stroke can strike anyone – young, old and everyone in between.
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“While it’s good news that fewer people are dying from stroke, these latest findings suggest that the number of strokes in people aged under 55 are on the rise.
“Unhealthy lifestyles could partly be to blame for this increase, with smoking, obesity and high blood pressure putting people at risk of a stroke.
“We must do more to raise people’s awareness of risk factors, so that they can take action to help prevent themselves from having a stroke.”
Alamy Drug use, such as taking cocaine, is also thought to be contributing to the increase in strokes among young people
Drinking Diet Coke everyday ‘increases risk of dying young from stroke and heart attack’