Research that has recently been carried out by the Stroke Association has revealed that the number of people aged between 20 and 64 being affected by strokes in England has reached an all time high, concluding that unhealthy lifestyles are the main cause of this epidemic.
The association warned that the cost of treatment would inevitably increase despite already sitting at £9 billion a year.
In addition to this, a warning has been provided regarding the ‘heavy financial impact’ which could result from disability and death caused by stroke as it has been estimated to cause those who are affected £1.3 billion a year.
“There is an alarming increase in the numbers of people having a stroke in working age”, said Job Barrick, the charity’s chief executive. “These figures show that stroke can no longer be seen as a disease of older people. As the figures show, it can happen to anyone at any time”.
Whilst the elderly remain the ones who are most at risk of suffering a stroke, the dramatically increased occurrences in younger people (25% in people aged 20 to 60 between 2000 and 2014) is something of particular concern to employers. The Stroke Association believes that employers are not doing enough to help workers recovering from having a stroke.
A new survey of employer’s attitudes towards stroke carried out by the charity found that only 5 per cent recognised cognitive difficulties as a symptom and a worrying 42 per cent would be reluctant to hire a stroke survivor due to concerns that they would not be able to perform their job role satisfactorily.
Dr Mike Knapton, at the British Heart Foundation charity, said the increase in stroke rates among younger men and women was worrying and needed to be taken seriously;
“These findings also highlight the importance of ensuring your blood pressure and cholesterol are under control, as well as having a health check at the age of 40, although there is an increase in sedentary activity and obesity levels now, it is only part of this complex picture.”
The Department of Health refused to directly comment on the shocking rise of strokes but stated; “Strokes can have a devastating impact on people and their families. Adopting a healthier lifestyle, like plenty of exercise and eating the right food, is really important to reduce the risk of stroke”.
Image: Step out for Stroke walks are fundraising events. The route is fully accessible so that anyone can take part, whatever their walking ability. Many stroke survivors take part with the support of friends and family, whether it’s one step, 10 steps or a mile, every step counts. © Stroke Association.