CLEVELAND, OH ( Ivanhoe Newswire) -- For the first time in decades, new reports show that the number of strokes in older men and women are on the decline—on the flip side—more younger people—even kids are suffering strokes. In fact, a study out of the American Stroke Association found strokes have increased 30 percent in boys and girls ages five to 14.
A talented rugby and football player, fifteen year old Jamie Finnerty is no lightweight. He was knocked off his feet a few months ago.
"I felt like the world was spinning a thousand miles an hour," Jamie told Ivanhoe.
A hard hit in a game tore an artery causing a stroke.
"He was vomiting quite a bit and he couldn’t open his eyes," Jamie’s mom, Stephanie Finnerty told Ivanhoe.
"They thought it was a migraine, so it was 24 hours later they realized he had a stroke," pediatric neurologist Neil Friedman added.
On average, it takes 12 to 24 hours for adults to get to the hospital after the first sign of stroke appears. That time shoots up to 48 to 72 hours for children.
"One of the biggest things we face is childhood stroke often goes unrecognized," Friedman said.
Signs of pediatric stroke can be difficult to diagnose. Underlying heart disease, blood disorders, trauma, even chicken pox can cause a stroke and until recently, there’s been very little to help a child who is suffering a stroke.
"For a child that means a lifelong disability," Friedman explained.
Now, studies are underway to use the adult drug TPA in children, but the clot busting drug needs to be given within 3 hours of the onset of the stroke. If it works, it can erase most signs of the stroke, but children metabolize the drug differently than adults.
"The risk is hemorrhage or bleeding in the brain," Friedman said.
Jamie suffered a second stroke while in rehab: both strokes were diagnosed too late for TPA.
"I couldn’t move my left side at all. I couldn’t raise my finger an inch," Jamie said.
But children’s’ brains have the ability to rewire quicker than adults. Three months later Jamie was up, walking, talking and ready to get back to school and sports.
"It’s kinda cool to say. I’m doing all this. I’m getting back to normal," Jamie said.
"He’s a fighter and he’s very motivated," Freidman added.
The first week of life has the highest incidence of stroke than any other time throughout your life. And most often, it’s not recognized until the baby is 5 to 6 months old and begins favoring one side of their body.
For additional research on this article, click here.
Sign up for a free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs called First to Know by clicking here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Neil Friedman MBCHB