The good news: Strokes are on the declining among older Americans. The bad news: They're on the rise among the young and middle-aged.
This is according to the latest statistics released this week at the American Stroke Conference by government researchers who compared hospitalization records from 1994 and 1995 with those from 2006 and 2007.
The data shows that there is a clear downward trend of strokes in the over-65 set. Strokes dropped 25 percent among men 65 and older and 28 percent among women in the same age group.
But there was a sharp increase in strokes among both men and women aged 15 through 34. Strokes rose by 51 percent among men in this age group and 17 percent among the women.
Why the decline in one age group and rise in the other? Health experts think better treatment of risk factors, such as high blood pressure, may have contributed to the decline in strokes among the elderly, while the rise in stroke cases in younger folks may be due to the prevalence of obesity among kids and young adults.
A disturbing trend indeed and one that hopefully puts even more emphasis on the need for campaigns (like Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative) that combat childhood obesity.