A stroke is commonly seen as an older person’s medical emergency. Yet according to Brain Injury Australia (BIA), one in every four strokes affects a person who is less than 65 years old. Younger stroke victims often have more challenges to contend with in areas such as rehabilitation and returning to work. BIA also claims strokes are increasing worldwide among the young due to factors such as obesity and hypertension.
One young stroke victim is Rani Davis, who was 17 years old when she had a stroke. She visited two GPs complaining of symptoms like colour change, pain and tingling in her hand and arm. Neither of them diagnosed her correctly.
The teen was born with two extra ribs and her stroke was caused by one of them rubbing on a major artery. Clare Eves of Shine Lawyers, who pursued a personal injury claim for Rani against the two GPs, said the teen was extremely lucky to have survived the stroke.
For the past three decades, stroke has been the second most common cause of death among women and the third among men in Australia. It’s time to take strokes in younger persons more seriously and to learn to recognise the symptoms.
Know the stroke signs
An easy way to recognise the signs of a stroke is to remember the acronym F.A.S.T.
FACE: It may have dropped to one side and the person may not be able to smile. ARMS: The person may be unable to lift one or both arms. SPEECH: The person’s speech may be slurred or they may not be able to speak at all in spite of being awake. TIME: If you see any of these signs or symptoms it’s time to call 000. 1
Young people and strokes
In their position paper ‘Young Stroke’ (2016), BIA defines a “young stroke” as “a first-time stroke event occurring between the ages of 18 and 64”. Young stroke survivors are more likely to be male (63%) and low-to-middle income.
Australia has more than 420,000 stroke survivors and around 30% are of working age, with lifestyle factors leading a rise in strokes among the young.
Young people who have strokes are at greater risk of misdiagnosis. A 2011 analysis focusing on patients from Perth, Melbourne and Auckland also found those from disadvantaged areas were more likely to experience stroke than those from more affluent neighbourhoods.2
How we can help
Has medical negligence harmed you or someone you care about? Shine Lawyers are experts in the field of medical negligence with a team led by Clare Eves. To find out more about how we can help you visit https://www.shine.com.au/service/medical-negligence-lawyers.
In case of an emergency dial 000.
Written by Shine Lawyers on October 16, 2018. Last modified: November 28, 2018.