A recent national study found that more people in their 40s and younger are being hospitalized for stroke, while fewer people over 60 are having strokes. It wasn't clear whether that's because of poorer health, or whether patients and doctors are better at detecting stroke.
Dr. Erfan Albakri, a stroke neurologist and director of the Florida Neurovascular Institute, says he is seeing more young people in his practice.
He agrees people are seeking help more quickly for stroke symptoms. But he also says many young people don't know the risk factors.
Chronic migraine headaches, undetected high blood pressure, high cholesterol, use of birth control pills and smoking - in combination or even individually - all are major risk factors for strokes in young people. They also are at risk for "silent strokes''-which show up on magnetic resonance imaging, but usually cause only slight memory, balance or information processing problems, all easily attributed to stress or fatigue.
"When we find these strokes and can tell people there are things you can do to prevent this from happening again, they are so relieved, it's a celebration," said Albakri, who has treated Snowden-Gordon.