More young people suffering strokes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

More young people suffering strokes

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - Randy Nicholson had a stroke when he was just 52-years-old. He said it started with a headache.

"On the right side in the back... Where I had the pain. If I would've realized I was developing a stroke I would have gone to the doctor that day and I wouldn't be like I am now," said Nicholson.

"They will continue throughout their life to get better. But it's extremely important in the first few months of aggressive treatment, aggressive rehabilitation as well as controlling the risk factors that are causing the stroke to start with," said Dr. Mahmoud Al-Hawamdeh.

Nicholson said all the signs were there when he suffered his stroke. He knew he needed to lose weight and exercise, he just never got around to it.

"Was kind of like a sign... saying, hey, this is telling you that this is the first step. You need to get something done or the next step is going to be fatal," Nicholson said.

Nicholson has now adopted a healthier lifestyle and is recovering one day at a time. 

Technology also helps to detect strokes better and earlier and that could be one reason why there's a rise in young victims. Obesity, diabetes and drugs and alcohol abuse are also prominent factors.

"We used to say that stroke is a disease of an elderly patient. It's still true, but we are seeing how a younger age group that is on the rise. The chances of getting a stroke is on the rise so we have to take it seriously," Al-Hawamdeh said.

Making sure you get routine physicals can help doctors keep track of your health and help detect the strokes.