Strokes in Children

Strokes affect all age groups. While increasing age increases risk, any age including infants and children can suffer a stroke.  An article posted on brings that point home.  A first grader had a stroke.  Fortunately after two surgeries she survived.

Strokes are among the top ten killers of children, which is something that most people do not realize.  This little girl, six years old, had a brain disease called Moyamoya. The disease causes an inadequate blood supply to the brain.  Most times this condition goes undetected until they suffer a stroke.

Based on research studies, strokes happen to children at a rate up to six out of every 100,000. Strokes are more common in children under the age of two years old per the National Stroke Association.  Risk factors for children are genetic disorders such as sickle cell anemia and marfans syndrome.  The above mentioned disease, Moyamoya, is thought to be hereditary and linked to the chromosome 17.  This disease can be either congenital or acquired.  Patients that have Down Syndrome or sickle cell disease can have the Moyamoya genetic malformations.

Children with congenital heart disease or heart disease such as rheumatic heart disease or endocarditis are also more prone to strokes.  Children with high blood pressure, diabetes or lupus, head trauma or infection within the brain such as meningitis should also be watched closely.

Hemorrhagic strokes (causing bleeding in the brain) strike young folks more often than ischemic strokes, which result from a blockage of blood flow in the brain.  More people, across all age groups, have ischemic strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes account for only 20% of strokes. Most of this 20% are young people.

Symptoms in a young child differ from adults.  Seizures and a sudden loss of speech also weakness or paralysis on one side of the body and convulsions, severe headaches and fever are all things to look for.  If you notice any of these symptoms get your child to an emergency room immediately.  Your speed in reacting could be the difference between life and death for your child.

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