'Alarming' rise in stroke cases among men and women aged between 40 and 54

There has been an 'alarming' rise in the number of working-age men and women having strokes Credit: PA

An "alarming" rise in the number of working-age men and women having strokes means it can no longer be seen as an older person's disease, a charity has warned.

The number of strokes occurring in men aged between 40 and 54 has gone up by 46% in less than 15 years, while it has risen by almost 30% in women, the Stroke Association said.

Overall, the number of strokes occurring in people of working age (20 to 64) rose by a quarter during the same period.

ITV's Rachel Younger reports:

Hospital admissions for stroke for 40-54-year-olds in England in 2014:

  • 6,221 men

  • 3,529 women

Stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. This is often the result of a blood clot, but can also be caused by high blood pressure.

The charity warned that figures have rocketed as people lead increasingly sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles.

High blood pressure - often caused by a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol or being overweight - can increase the risk of stroke Credit: Stroke Association/Creative Commons

The charity warned that more stroke victims of working-age will be forced to live with a loss of income due to death and disability - already costing £1.3 billion each year.

It called on employers to do more to recognise the symptoms of stroke and understand the needs of stroke survivors.

FAST - Recognising the signs of a stroke:

  • Face - the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have drooped

  • Arms - the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm

  • Speech -their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.

  • Time - it is time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms