CLEVELAND, Ohio — Strokes can be a scary thing, and studies are showing that they are occurring with increasing frequency in young people.

“No age group is immune to having strokes, and we’re surprisingly seeing a significant rise in strokes in young adults,” Dr. Abbas Kharal, MD, a neurologist with Cleveland Clinic, said.

A stroke is then your blood has trouble getting to part of the brain. Their symptoms can be identified using the acronym FAST.

“‘F’ is for face drooping, ‘A’ is for arm weakness, ‘S’ is for speech difficulty and ‘T’ is a reminder that it’s time to call 911,” according to Cleveland Clinic.

Sometimes people will put off getting help because they think it’s something less serious but its important to seek immediate help as strokes can cause permanent brain damage or death.

One of the potential reasons why strokes are occurring more often in people under 50 is lifestyle choices.

“Particularly in younger adults, we’re seeing a significant rise in premature atherosclerosis, which is hardening and blockages in blood vessels. That is specifically believed to be due to a rise in the vascular risk factors of stroke in more younger patients,” Dr. Kharal said. “We’re seeing the incidence of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes occurring now in younger patients in their late 20s into their early 30s. These diseases have traditionally been attributed to a much older population.”

Other factors include clotting disorders, structural heart disease, blood vessel abnormalities – including inflammatory and genetic blood vessel disorders – and recreational drug use.

The best way to reduce your risk of having a stroke is living a healthy lifestyle and keeping up with annual doctor visits, according to Dr. Kharal.