ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Young adults are having strokes at an increasingly alarming rate, and a new study shows 73 percent of them have no idea how to spot the warning signs.

The manager of the MidAmerica Stroke Network at SSM Health SLU Hospital, Jeff Wright, says to be honest, young people today are not as healthy as young people in previous generations.

“There’s obesity across the United States in a big way, and there’s also people that develop diabetes, either because of obesity or because of other genetic risk factors and all of those things, along with high blood pressure, smoking, that kind of thing, are heavy duty risk factors for stroke, which are causing it to occur more in younger people than it did before,” he says.

The key to avoiding a devastating outcome from a stroke, Wright says, is to spot the warning signs early and call 911. Warning signs include sudden or unexpected weakness or tingling on one side of the body, vision problems, trouble speaking or understanding language, difficulty walking or feeling off balance or dizzy and a sudden severe headache.

“If there’s any suspicion at all, you definitely want to have the benefit of the doubt. Call 911, get evaluated in the hospital. Don’t have your friend or family drive you. Paramedics have a direct line with physicians in the emergency room so they can start doing some assessment on the way, where as you and I would not have that capability just in our cars,” he says.

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