June 1, 2023 – On the morning of his stroke, Evan Parker wakes up feeling ill. He remembers having a cup of coffee around 9 am and having noticed a slight headache the past few days, but now it’s much worse. He felt “a wave just drifting over him” and went to get a glass of water.
When Parker arrived at his job at a farm produce retail company in Lafayette, Los Angeles, his boss immediately noticed symptoms of a stroke. And she said, “Oh my God, Evan, your face is drooping.” Parker dismissed her concerns. He was only 27 years old, and having a stroke was almost the last thing on his mind.
“I had no idea because I’ve never known anyone my age to make something like this happen,” Parker said. “The elderly that I knew had had strokes, it would happen while they were sleeping and stuff. A lot of the elderly that I knew had died as a result of that.”
But Parker’s boss insisted that an ambulance be called for him. The time from onset of symptoms until he arrived at the hospital was only an hour, but it made a pivotal difference.
Cerebral hemorrhage is on the riseaccording research Published by the American Heart Association. A 15-year study found an overall increase of 11% nationwide, with a 38% increase in the 18-44 age group. However, nearly 30% of adults in the United States under the age of 45 are unaware of common stroke symptoms. survey from the assembly.
“We’re seeing a greater incidence of stroke in younger people,” said Cheryl Martin Shield, MD, director of stroke medicine for the Louisiana Emergency Response Network. We believe this is due at least in part to a younger age in developing stroke risk factors specifically: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking. And these things over time can lead to a stroke long before the normal lifespan.”
There are two types of stroke: ischemic stroke – blockages or blood clots in the blood vessels to the brain, or hemorrhagic stroke – leakage or rupture of an artery in the brain.
“It’s really hard to get people to think about stroke to be concerned enough,” said Thabele “Bye” Leslie Mazoe, a national volunteer expert with the American Stroke Association. He said patients sometimes ignore their symptoms over time to seek emergency help.
Intermountain Healthcare in Utah built on the American Stroke Association’s FAST model to create the acronym BE-FAST: Balance, Eye, Face, Arm, Speech, Time to Stroke Symptoms, and Awareness:
- B: Balance – sudden dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
- E: Eyes – sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- F: Face – sudden facial weakness (does one side of your face droop?)
- A: Arm – Weakness of an arm or leg
- S: Speech – sudden difficulty speaking
- T: time – the time when symptoms began.
Leslie Mazowe said the most common signs of a stroke are changes in speech and face. Strokes that specifically affect the blood vessels in the back of the brain can sometimes be missed. But facial or speech interference occurs in about 88% of stroke patients, so it captures the bulk of them.”
“BE-FAST now captures those poor symptoms that are under-represented on social media, such as sudden trouble with balance and sudden trouble with eyesight,” said Martin Shield. “It improves the sensitivity of this scan tool to about 95% instead of 89%.”
Martin Shield, a neurologist at both Touro Hospital and New Orleans East, said the three signs that are often misjudged are sudden problems with balance, sudden problems with eyesight or a sudden, awful headache.
A stroke can manifest itself as a visual disturbance, such as double vision caused by problems with the eye muscles, and the effect of nerve dysfunction due to a stroke.
She said people should not panic if they notice symptoms but should seek immediate help if the onset is sudden.
When Parker arrived at Rapids Regional Hospital in LafayetteAnd The hospital staff took him through various tests. After a CT scan, they identified the stroke in the basal ganglia, an area near the center of the brain that controls body movement.
“I think that’s one of the biggest things for my recovery; it was such a quick action on behalf of everyone involved in it,” Parker said.
Parker has recovered since his stroke in 2019. He dieted for a while and lost about 70 lbs. He said he has cut out sugar to maintain his weight and is taking a blood thinner daily. He also takes cholesterol medication as an extra precaution.
“I tell people all the time to watch their cholesterol and blood pressure,” Parker said.
When Parker came Toro dispensaryAnd Martin Shield has narrowed down the cause of his stroke to protein S deficiency, a rare genetic disorder that can cause blood clots.
Parker said knowing the signs of a stroke and acting quickly are crucial to surviving a stroke.
“Time is everything: The sooner you can get the right treatment, the faster you will be on the road to recovery, and the better you will recover,” Parker said.
“It is important to live a life of preparation, not fear,” said Martin Schild. “And being prepared means that you do everything you can to minimize your risk.”
Preventive measures include taking medications prescribed by health providers and calling 911 if things get worse.
Megan McKee, a 14-year-old physical therapist who lives in North Carolina, also had her symptoms early on. McKee had a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a hole between the left and right upper chambers of the heart. So she informed her husband of the possibility of a stroke and the signs and symptoms of BE-FAST that she had read StrokeAwareness.com.
“I always knew the possibility, but I also thought, you know, I’m young, I’m active, I’m healthy. I’m doing the right thing so that it doesn’t happen to me,” McKee said.
At the age of 31, the stroke came as a complete surprise. When Mackie was watching a movie with her husband, she struggled to reach for a water bottle. Her left hand fluttered the desk. Maki then grabbed the bottle with his right hand and choked it with water. Her husband noticed that her gait was strange when she got up and called 911.
She said, “I actually couldn’t even recognize the symptoms in myself at that moment — that my entire left arm was flat, hanging down at my side.” I couldn’t move my left leg. I was dragging her behind me.”
The hospital was only 4 miles away. Maki stayed in the hospital for 4 days and underwent surgery to close the hole in her heart. From her experience as a naturopath, she treated women who had a postpartum stroke, and knew that treatments such as surgery focus on avoiding a second stroke.
McKee also received speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Within a week, her symptoms were gone.
“To this day, I have impotence, I have decreased strength in my hands and feet, and then my smile is still not entirely symmetrical,” McKee said. “But other than that, you know, I was very, very lucky.”
Seven years after the stroke, McKee gave birth to two daughters. Sharing his insights into surviving a stroke, McKee said, “Time is the brain. As with every passing minute, there can be more damage that can be done to your brain; your whole body is controlled by your brain. And when I say that, I mean your ability.” To walk, to stand, to speak, to think, to have your perception and your memory.”
She said delays can often lead to disability.
Martin Shield said early treatment and access to critical rehabilitation services lead to a good recovery from stroke. However, she said there are disparities in patient access to both.
“Depending on your insurance company, whether they fund inpatient rehabilitation, for example,” said Martin Schild. “It depends on where you are from, whether there are any rehab facilities in your area, or whether you are physically separated from your family sometimes by hundreds of miles while you are in major rehab.”
She said people who can count on a support team are doing the best they can at any age when a stroke occurs.
We need more public health work and more resources dedicated to it. “This will be where we have the most impact,” said Leslie Mazoe. He recommended following a diet that reduces intake of salt, sugar and animal products and avoiding smoking.