As I approach the one year anniversary of my stroke I want to help spread the word that a stroke can happen to anyone, at any age and you don’t have to have the obvious risk factors – I didn’t.
World Stroke Day is October 29, 2017. Learn about stroke and the warning signs and symptoms here.
How a person is affected by the stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. For example a small stroke may cause temporary weakness of an arm or leg while a larger stroke can leave you paralyzed or unable to speak.
I am one of the fortunate ones who has recovered completely. My recovery is thanks to where in my brain it happened and the fact that I was pretty healthy over all. I did not have high blood pressure or cholesterol I exercised daily and maintained a fairly healthy diet.
The doctors did determine that I have a PFO – Patent Foramen Ovale – or in simpler terms a hole in my heart. This seems to be the explanation for my stroke. I did not and do not have any of the risk factors usually associated with stroke and stroke risk.
A Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is a flap-like opening between the two upper of the heart (the right and left atria). All people are born with this flap-like hole, but for most, the hole closes by itself after birth. However, for roughly 1 out of every 5 people, this hole does not seal itself, resulting in a PFO. In fact, many people have a PFO and do not know it because there are no signs or symptoms. – Texas Heart Institute
Learn the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke:
Face – drooping on one side or numbness
Arm weakness – is one arm weak or numb
Speech – is speech slurred
Time – time to call 911 if any of these symptoms exist, or if you are unsure? Call 911 any
way! Time is critical! Get help immediately
Know the F.A.S.T. symptoms but also note these other warning signs and symptoms:
- Sudden NUMBNESS or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eye
- Sudden TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause
If someone shows ANY of these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services.
I was extremely fortunate to not have any physical deficiencies after my stroke. The doctors attributed some of that to my physical condition when I had my stroke. I was in pretty good shape and followed a fairly healthy diet. Today, I still exercise 5 to 6 times per week and maintain a healthy diet.
For more detailed information on stroke and stroke prevention: