Strokes increase in youngThe USA Today announced that a new study in the Journal of Neurology has found an increase in strokes in younger individuals. Most disturbing is what this can mean: greater lifetime disability for stroke victims.
The lead author Brett Kissela, a physician at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, attributes the increase to the higher incidence of diabetes and obesitythat doctors are now seeing in younger individuals. He also claims that increase could be due to better medical technology, such as imaging, which now allows doctors to detect what may have been occurring previously but not detected.
Claimants who suffer strokes may suffer speech difficulties, paralysis and emotional difficulties. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strokes are now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is with significant lifestyle changes, better medical care and medication the risk can be lowered. Potentially decreasing the chances a claimant will need long term disability benefits.
Researchers begin their study of strokes after doctors witnessed a higher rate of younger patients seeking medical care for strokes including cerebral ischemia, intracerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage or stroke of uncertain cause.
According to the USA report, the study reviewed patients who were between the ages 20 and 54 in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area during three separate, one-year-long periods between July 1993 and June 1994, and the calendar years of 1999 and 2005. Only patients' first strokes were included in the analysis. Data analysis from 2010 is underway.
After the study was completed they made several conclusions including that the rate of strokes among Caucasians ages 20-54 increased from 26 per 100,000 in 1993-94 to 48 in 2005. Additionally, they concluded that the average age of a stroke patient also fell to 69 in 2005 from a high of 71 years of age in 1993-1994. The stroke rates of patients under the age of 55 also increased in the same time period.
Doctors, who may have considered young patients too young to have strokes, will have to modify their traditional thinking. Many doctors also conclude that this is a disturbing trend for a younger generation, many of whom are much less healthy than their parents were at their age.
The good news is that up to 80% of strokes may be prevented, according to the American Stroke Association. Most of the prevention is similar to what many have been suggesting for years to eliminate the risk factors for diabetes and obesity: an improved diet and increased exercise regimen. The study also recommended that young patients should continue to get adequate medical care and have their overall health monitored.
What does this mean for the Social Security Administration and disability benefits?
An increased incidence of strokes is bad news for the Social Security Administration which is already overwhelmed with the high rate of disability benefits applications and disability benefits recipients. Reports indicate that the cost for disability benefits has escalated along with the number of claimants. How much does the Social Security Administration currently spend? An estimated $200 billion per year, according to JP Morgan, who estimates that this is more than the budgets of the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, and State combined.