Two counties in our region, Bedford and Jefferson were among 7 counties in the state with a higher number of stroke deaths in recent years. But overall, state health records show that fewer Pennsylvanians are dying from a stroke. The number of deaths due to stroke declined more than 25 percent from 2001 to 2010,in the state.
Still, stroke remains the third leading cause of death in Pennsylvania and the leading cause of disability. The older you are the higher your risk, but stroke can occur at any age.
"It's happening in younger people, particularly women, because of hormone pills, birth control pills that can put you at risk," according to Dr. Pete Roy, a neurologist with Mt. Nittany Physician Group. "Also, people with high blood pressure and diabetes who aren't being treated, even at younger ages, are at greater risk for stroke, " he added.
Dr Roy, says stroke symptoms such as drooping of the face, numbness in an arm or leg, or slurred speech should send you to the emergency room immediately.
Medication can dissolve clots that can cause some strokes, but it must be taken within three hours to be effective.