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Signs of Stroke in Children and How They Differ From Signs in Adults

Comparing Strokes in Children to Those in Adults

Young people seem to suffer from hemorrhagic strokes (strokes caused by bleeding in the brain) more than ischemic strokes (strokes due to a lack of oxygen- or nutrient-rich blood flow). This is a significant difference from older age groups, where ischemic strokes make up the majority of stroke cases. Hemorrhagic strokes represent 20 percent of all strokes in the United States, and young people account for many of these.
 
Healthcare providers often separate the "young" into two categories: those younger than 15 years of age, and those who are 15 to 44 years of age. People who are 15 to 44 years of age are generally considered young adults. Risk factors for a stroke among these young adults include such things as:
 
  • Drug use
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Pregnancy
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Heart disease or heart malformations
  • Infections.
 

Symptoms of Strokes in Children

The symptoms of a stroke in children are different from those in adults and young adults. A child experiencing a stroke may have stroke symptoms that include:
 
  • Seizures
  • A sudden loss of speech
  • A loss of expressive language (including body language and gestures)
  • Hemiparesis (weakness on one side of the body)
  • Hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body)
  • Dysarthria (impairment of speech)
  • Convulsions, unexplained severe headache, or fever.
 
If a child shows any of the symptoms listed above, consider it a medical emergency -- don't wait to seek medical attention.
 
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

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