Stroke can happen at any age

by Dawn Huffman

Mille Lacs Health System


May is National Stroke Awareness month. According to the National Stroke Association, a stroke can happen to anyone at any age and at any time. It is not just about being older. Strokes in children, teens, and young adults are increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S., with a 44% spike in the number of young Americans (under 45 years) hospitalized due to stroke over the last decade. Sadly, 73% of young Americans are not familiar with stroke symptoms and the need for urgent medical attention.

Did You Know?

  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of adult long-term disability.
  • 15% of ischemic strokes occur in young adults and adolescents.
  • In many cases, children, teens, and young adults who experienced a stroke had significant increases in high blood pressure, lipid (cholesterol) disorders, diabetes, tobacco use, and obesity.

Use the FAST acronym to remember the warning signs of stroke:

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Mille Lacs Health System is designated as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital by the MN Dept. of Health. MLHS uses state-of-the-art stroke diagnostic technology  ̶  through telemedicine to stroke specialists at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale  ̶  to confirm the diagnosis of stroke, and confirm the appropriateness of a “clot busting” medication which may improve outcome.

The best way to reduce your chances of a stroke is eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, don’t smoke, limit alcohol use, and prevent or treat any other health conditions, especially high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.        

The National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke. It is the only national organization in the U.S. that focuses 100 percent of its efforts on stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke. Visit for more information.