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Researchers are uncovering data left and right on cocaine and its devastating consequences, the most recent being a study centered on the cause of ischemic strokes in young adults. An ischemic stroke, according to the Stroke Association’s website, is what occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain—it accounts for approximately 87% of all stroke cases. As you might’ve already guessed, researchers found that the largest cause of these ischemic strokes in young adults was, surprise surprise, acute cocaine usage.

According to Yu-Ching Cheng, Ph.D., research scientist at Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine:

Cocaine use is one of the risk factors we investigated and we were surprised at how strong an association there is between cocaine and stroke risk in young adults. We found the stroke risk associated with acute cocaine use is much higher than some other stroke risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking.”

According to an article posted on Medical News Today, 1,101 men and women ages 15-49 from the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area who had suffered a stroke between 1998-2008, and 1,154 men and women of similar ages from the general population, were compared by researchers. About a quarter from each group reported having abused cocaine at some point in their life. Ultimately, it wasn’t those who had abused cocaine in the past that were found to have been at risk of an ischemic stroke, but those who abused cocaine in the past 24-hours who were most susceptible. The findings were presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2014.

And that’s just the people who admitted to abusing cocaine. Cheng adds:

Despite the strong stroke risk associated with acute cocaine use, in our study only about one-third of young stroke patients had toxicology screenings done during hospitalization. We think the percentage of cocaine use could be higher than we’ve reported.

As always, the small discoveries always point to a bigger problem.

What do you think?