Ischemic stroke hospitalization rates among adolescents and young adults aged 15-44 went up 37% between 1995 and 2008. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, lipid disorders and tobacco use increased as well, according to a new study.

The study, which took place over 14 years, was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings were published in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and the Child Neurology Society.

Researchers analyzed risk factors and comorbidities in patients admitted for stokes with discharge data made available from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The study found a “significant increase in trends in ischemic stroke hospitalizations among adolescents and young adults.”

The study concluded that one in three patients aged 15-34 and over half aged 35-44 were also diagnosed with hypertension. A quarter of patients 35-44 were diagnosed with diabetes. A quarter of females 15-34, one in three females 35-44 and one in three males 15-44 were tobacco users.

Mary George, M.D., M.S.P.H., lead author of the study said, “Our results from national surveillance data accentuate the need for public health initiatives to reduce the prevalence of risk factors for stroke among adolescents and young adults.”

–Michael K. Stanley