Health Buzz: More People Under 55 Suffering Strokes

Take action for heart health; quick and easy healthy lunch tips

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Study: More Young and Middle-Aged Adults Suffering From Strokes 

More young people today suffer from strokes than in the 1990s, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Neurology. In 1993 and 1994, researchers found that people ages 20 to 54 accounted for nearly 13 percent of stroke victims, whereas in 2005, that figure jumped to about 19 percent, reports HealthDay. As a result, the average age for a stroke to occur decreased to 69—as opppsed to 71 in the mid-1990s. Researchers analyzed the statistics of first-time stroke patients in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region—home to more than a million men and women, Health Day reports, and took stroke snapshots in 1993 and 1994, and again in 1999 and 2005. The conclusion was that young and middle-aged adults, regardless of race, account for a surprising number of strokes. "What [the study] means is that even though young people typically feel like they're healthy and that a stroke can't happen to them, the fact is that our study is evidence that that is not true," Brett Kissela, the study's lead author and a University of Cincinnati College of Medicine professor of neurology, told HealthDay. A rise in stroke risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol, as well as improved diagnosis may contribute to this trend, Kissela told NBC.

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  • Take Action for Heart Health

    Our 21st century lifestyle is bumping up our risk of heart disease. The convenience of cars and fast food, coupled with high-stress jobs, too little sleep, and a floundering economy is creating a toxic environment for our heart health. "Over the last couple of decades, the risk for cardiovascular disease has decreased, but now we may be reaching an inflection point, where the risks will climb again if we fail to manage how we live," says Marc Gillinov, a cardiovascular surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and coauthor of Heart 411: The Only Guide to Heart Health You'll Ever Need (Three Rivers Press, 2012).

    We can't take this vital organ for granted, as no one is immune to heart disease. But heart disease is largely preventable, notes Gillinov. New studies are shining light on a few surprising risk factors, while offering fresh insight on how to keep your heart ticking for many years. Consider:

    1. Cultivate a positive attitude: It does the heart good. The mind-body connection is being increasingly recognized as important to a thriving heart. Harvard School of Public Health researchers Julia Boehm and Laura Kubzansky recently completed a literature review examining the link between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular disease. They learned that optimistic people can cut their risk of a first heart attack by 50 percent compared to glass-half-empty types. "We found that people with [a] greater level of well-being tend to engage in healthy behaviors and have better biological functioning," says Boehm. Most of the studies controlled for obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, and depression, and found optimistic views were beneficial over and above these traditional risk factors, she notes. Every day, count your blessings, practice kind acts to others, socialize, and develop relationships you feel good about—all for the good of your heart. [Read more: Take Action for Heart Health]

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    • Quick and Healthy Lunch Tips

      With the days getting shorter amid busy school and work schedules, it's easy for many of us to forget to plan lunch. Constructing healthy meals is my job, and I slip too!

      As a dietitian, I'm always asked for suggestions to help people eat well on a tight schedule, writes U.S. News blogger Keri Glassman. In this blog, I'll be bringing you the inside scoop on what the Nutritious Life team is brown bagging. See what we're packing for lunch, and pick up some healthful tips that might work for you.

      Here is a glimpse at a recent lunch of mine: