Nightly News   |  May 18, 2013

More young people having strokes, study says

A recent study in the journal Neurology found that the proportion of young people who are having strokes increased from one in eight stroke patients in the mid-90s to one in five in just over a decade. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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>>> and a problem we don't usually associate with young people , the risk of having a stroke, but it's there for some and it appears to be increasing. dr. nancy schneiderman has more tonight.

>> excellent. hurry.

>> kim was 32 and ready to go to work when she lost feeling in her arm.

>> i could tell something was wrong and in that same instance, i was not able to, not able to speak.

>> i love you.

>> a paid yatic nurse and mer of two was having a stroke. most likely the result of a heart defect she was born with.

>> i was so afraid i was never going to be able to tell my family i love them.

>> a study found the proportion of young people having strokes increaseded from one in eight in the mid 90s and they were three times more likely to die within 20 years than people who haven't had them. paul was 28 when he had a stroke. he exercised regularly, but was overweight.

>> i was 5'11 inches and 235 pounds.

>> and without knowing it, he was prediabetic, had high blood pressure and cholesterol. researchers aren't sure why cases in younger patients are on the rise, but believe that rising obesity and diabetes rates are at least in part to blame.

>> when you have obesity and diabetes, you often have high blood pressure and high cholesterol , which is an important risk factor .

>> but some neuroyolgss believe there's another reason.

>> we're doing more and more mris and it could be we're not finding more strokes, but we're detecting them better.

>> doctors hope this provides an opportunity for education. drooping in the face, inability to hold up one arm or slurred speech are all signs that time is of the essence . these are the symptoms of a stroke and you should call 911 immediately.