Unhealthy living sees younger stroke victims

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THE number of younger people having strokes is increasing in the Portsmouth area.

Research carried out by charity The Stroke Association has found people in their 40s and 50s are being hospitalised for the condition which is usually seen in people aged 65 or over.

Dr David Jarrett is a consultant stroke physician at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

He said high levels of smoking, drinking alcohol and a high salt intake all contribute to having a stroke and that he is seeing more and more younger people.

He said: ‘We do have a fair number of younger people on our stroke wards.

‘Portsmouth does reflect the national picture of younger people suffering from strokes, and also premature vascular disease such as heart attacks.

‘It’s happening in Portsmouth but it is also happening nationally.

‘There are a lot of things that are happening that can explain this.

‘Certainly, the lifestyle of the individual is one of these but also public health and what can be done by them.

‘Salt reduction in food is an example. High levels of salt mean high blood pressure.

‘There has also been a rise in drinking alcohol and drinking a lot of it can cause premature vascular disease.

‘Obesity is another factor. Everyone knows obesity is a problem because it causes Type 2 diabetes.

‘There’s quite a lot of young people who are obese who have Type 2 diabetes, and smoking is prevalent.’

Esme Mutter, regional head of operations for the south central region for the Stroke Association, has said having a stroke at a younger age can have a bigger impact on people’s lives.

She said: ‘Strokes are increasing in people in their 40s and 50s and some of this is due to obesity, more sedentary lifestyles and longer hours spent at work.

‘The way the NHS records stroke has improved and more people are recognising the signs of strokes.

‘The impact of a stroke at 40 or 50 can be very different to those in other age groups as many are still working, paying of mortgages and have young families at home.

‘It can hit them financially as well as affecting their confidence and self-esteem if they cannot return to work.’