Strokes are rising dramatically among young and middle-aged Americans while dropping in older people, a sign that the obesity epidemic may be starting to shift the age burden of the disease.
The numbers, reported Wednesday at an American Stroke Association conference, come from the first large nationwide study of stroke hospitalizations by age. Government researchers compared hospitalizations in 1994 and 1995 with ones in 2006 and 2007.
The sharpest increase — 51 percent — was among men 15 through 34. Strokes rose among women in this age group, too, but not as fast — 17 percent.