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Nate Dogg's death -- and the realities of stroke in the young

March 16, 2011|By Tami Dennis, Tribune Health
  • Singer Nate Dogg has died at age 41. The death is being blamed on recent strokes.
Singer Nate Dogg has died at age 41. The death is being blamed on recent strokes. (Ann Johansson / For The Los…)

Singer Nate Dogg's death on Tuesday is being blamed on complications of multiple strokes. That information, juxtaposed against his age -- 41, seems shocking. It is. But not unheard of.

Remember Beau Biden? The Delaware attorney general suffered a stroke last year at age 41. His stroke was mild, but as Dr. David S. Liebeskind of the UCLA stroke center, pointed out at the time: "Overall, the perception is that only older people have strokes, but we see a lot of people who have strokes at that age, even younger sometimes."

Liebeskind explains some of the causes of mild strokes, but the greater point remains: Stroke happens in the young.

RELATED: Remembering Nathaniel 'Nate Dogg' Hale in video

Respected blog KevinMD.com delved further into the risk factors, noting that stroke rates are increasing in people age 40 to 60.

As the Internet Stroke Center points out: "Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65."  But that means about a quarter occur in people younger.

The American Heart Assn. offers a wealth of statistics on heart disease and stroke, including this grim look at the percentages who will die one year after a first stroke:  

– "at age 40 and older, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women."

- "at ages 40–69: 14 percent of white men, 20 percent of white
women, 19 percent of black men and 19 percent of black women."

– "at age 70 and older: 24 percent of white men, 27 percent of
white women, 25 percent of black men and 22 percent of black
women."

Nate Dogg, whose real name was Nathaniel Hale, had suffered other strokes in recent years and had reportedly been working toward recovery.

A natural question is: What are the risk factors? Here are the ones you can't change, as listed by the American Red Cross:

-Family history: If a parent, grandparent or sibling had a stroke, you're at higher risk.

-Race: African Americans, who also have higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, are more likely to die of a stroke than whites.

-Gender: Men are more likely to have a stroke than women (though women are more likely to die from a stroke).

-Prior stroke: Even a small one increases the risk of another one.

The site also lists risk factors that can be changed. And there are many.

If you're worried, check it out. If you're not worried, check it out. He was 41.

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