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Strokes occurring at a higher rate for those under 40

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Milwaukee, WI -

Matthew Dean didn't think he'd ever be the one riding in an ambulance. A picture of health. A firefighter. A runner. He doesn't drink. He doesn't smoke. But he was at work when he got the first sign.

He couldn't speak and soon realized he was having a stroke, at 37 years old. Matthew's story is part of an increasing trend, according to the Aurora Neurologist that treated him. A 2017 study found a 42% increase among men and a 30% increase among women ages 35-44 in stroke hospitalization rate. And that's not all.

Experts are split on what is causing the increases: some studies point to causes like IV drug use, migraine headaches, smoking, even birth control usage. But most seem to agree: a person's lifestyle and rising obesity rates are a big risk factor. In Matthew's case, so what do younger people need to do? Experts say it's not a bad idea to cut down on those drive-thru meals and balance your diet, regularly exercise, and to start asking in your 20's and 30's about screening tests for cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. 

The signs of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym "be fast". Which stand for face, arms, speech, and time. We have a full description online, as well as resources and steps to help you watch out for hypertension and diabetes.

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