Time is Never Enough: The reality behind Young Strokes (Part 2)
In the first part of this series, I provided insight into the extent of impact of stroke on young adults, globally and highlighted the risk factors for precipitating the occurrence of a stroke. In this part, I will discuss some preventative measures, specific to young stroke and also list a few pivotal resources for young stroke survivors.
As discussed in preceding posts of this blog “Stroke Reimagined”, majority of the risk factors of stroke are modifiable and hence, although many strokes have poor prognosis/ outcomes, they can very well be prevented. For any public health challenge, prevention begins at the primordial level and can be tackled even before the onset of the disease. For anyone at risk of developing strokes (based on family history or genetics), early screening, lifestyle and dietary modifications, can do wonders. Also identifying young adults, teenagers and older adults at risk due to substance use (especially smoking) must be immediately started on deaddiction management and routine cardiovascular health checkups. Next, comes in primary stroke prevention, which is aimed at “stroke prevention in at-risk asymptomatic population”. It consists of identifying and controlling known risk factors such as hypertension, increased cholesterol and diabetes by doing all of the things mentioned above. In addition to these fundamental approaches to prevention, it is essential to identify socio-demographically vulnerable or at-risk groups for example, in the United States, this has been found to be young Black individuals, who exhibit a significantly higher incidence of stroke than young White individuals. It is crucial to establish targeted interventions to address this as a public health issue through policy reform that enhance the primordial and primary prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and their risk factors among young Black adults (or other vulnerable groups).
Looking at the extreme end of the spectrum, once a stroke has occurred, it is essential to ramp up the rehabilitation process and focus on tertiary prevention – which I have discussed in greater detail in some of my previous blog posts. However, apart from just medical, rehabilitative of financial support, psychosocial support also plays a major role in the recovery process and also to ensure the prevention of recurrent strokes. There are several organisations and initiatives (either not-for-profit or government-led), that are available for psychological and psychosocial support. I will list a few of them below:
One must always remember the dynamic nature of the human body, with ever-changing and adapting physiology. COVID has taught us very well that being young is not an excuse to be freed from all risks of developing chronic illness. This is imperative especially in today’s fast-paced and stress-filled lifestyle of young people which makes them more susceptible to having a stroke. Hence, it is time to recognise and anticipate the impending public health burden not just of stroke, but of young stroke as well. In conclusion, we must realise that there is never enough time or rather, “time is never enough”, when it comes to the public health implications of stroke.