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Study finds high disability rates among young stroke victims

There is no disputing that many people will see their lives turned completely upside down following a major stroke. That's because in the blink of an eye they may find their physical movements limited, their speech impaired or even their cognitive abilities weakened.

While we tend to think of this neurological condition as affecting only the elderly, the truth is that people of all ages can suffer a stroke and that being of a younger age doesn't necessarily guarantee a complete recovery.

To illustrate, consider a recently released study by Dutch researchers examining the progress of 722 patients who suffered an initial stroke between the ages of 18 to 50.

Here, they determined that even after the passage of an average of nine years, as many as one-third of these younger stroke patients still faced daily challenges brought on by a lingering disability that necessitated some form of assistance.

Breaking the numbers down, the researchers determined that hemorrhagic strokes (i.e., those involving bleeding in the brain) caused the most lingering disabilities among the younger patients, followed by ischemic strokes (i.e., those involving blocked arteries) and transient ischemic attacks (i.e., mini strokes).

Even more eye opening, the researchers determined that the fallout from a stroke for a younger person may not be just physical but also financial, as they may not be able to return to the workforce during what are presumably their most productive earning years.

"Just because someone is young when they have a stroke, that doesn't necessarily mean they will have good recovery; in fact, only about half of young stroke survivors return to work," said one doctor who was unaffiliated with the study yet supportive of its conclusions. "Of those, approximately one in four require adjustments in their occupation."

The researchers concluded by indicating that it is crucial for medical professionals to not only make sure that these younger stroke patients are focusing on rehabilitation and prevention, but that they also have realistic expectations about their recovery going forward.

It is important to remember that if a neurological condition has left you disabled that you do have options for securing much-needed financial assistance. For example, an experienced attorney can discuss your rights and your options concerning Social Security Disability benefits.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, "One-third of young stroke victims remain disabled years after: Study," Feb. 27, 2014

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