Tag Archives: stroke

26-year-old NHL star has a stroke; shines light on symptoms in young adults

by Sunitha Santhakumar, M.D., stroke program director, Beaumont, Royal Oak

(Photo via AP)

(Photo via AP)

It was revealed last week that Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang suffered a stroke and will be out for at least six weeks. While his doctors don’t believe that this stroke will be career-threatening, the diagnosis still came as a shock to the 26-year-old Letang.

What is even more shocking is that stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke has traditionally been considered a disease of elderly, but the incidence of stroke has been rising in the younger population. The risk if stroke in young adults less than age 45 is about 1 in 10,000.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease are causes off stroke at any age but specific stroke risk factors are seen in children and young adults, including cardiac abnormalities like heart valve defects, clotting disorders and use of oral contraceptives.

Letang’s stroke diagnosis came after he developed an episode of dizziness and nausea. It was also reported that Letang’s tests showed a pre-existing heart defect, called Patent Foramen Ovale or PFO, that had gone undetected. About one in four adults are noted to have a PFO, usually present since birth. PFO is a rare cause of stroke and majority of the people never have any symptoms. It is not clear if PFO is the cause or only an association.

Young people should not ignore the signs and symptoms of stroke, even though many think that a stroke can only happen to the elderly.  Therefore, education of stroke risk factors is very important. If someone is experiencing symptoms of stroke, call 9-1-1 and come to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

According to a quote on ESPN.com, Letang said he hopes that making his condition public, he can help others to seek medical help if they experience the symptoms associated with a stroke regardless of their age or general health.

This information is for educational purposes only. Dr. Santhakumar has no first-hand knowledge of Letang’s case.
Tagged , , , ,

Incidence of stroke in the younger population increasing in U.S.


Yesterday, actor Frankie Muniz (now 27) admitted he was hospitalized for a “mini stroke.” Muniz, famous for his role in Malcolm in the Middle, appears to have recovered and tweeted, “Have to start taking care of my body! Getting old!”

Beaumont’s medical director of stroke services and co-chair of the Michigan Stroke Initiative, Sunitha Santhakumar, M.D. explained that the incidence of stroke in the younger population (under 50 years of age) is increasing in the United States even though the overall stroke incidence is declining.

In children and young adults (under 50 years of age), causes for mini stroke (TIAs) and strokes are mainly related to heart problems, either congenital and acquired, bleeding or clotting disorders like sickle-cell disease, abnormalities of the arteries like vasculitis, genetic conditions, smoking and use of recreational drugs.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,
%d bloggers like this: