Strokes rising among young adults

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — October 1, 2015, began like a normal day for Ginger Boyd.

“I wanted to look on Pinterest to see what I could wear with some cute rain boots,” she said.

She was in her closet when a pain in her foot forced her to sit down.

The problem was — she couldn’t get up.

Her husband came in and noticed that her speech was garbled.

“He said, ‘Something’s wrong with you I’m going to call an ambulance.’ I said, ‘No don’t call anyone you’ll scare the girls, they’ll be afraid.’ Luckily for me he didn’t listen,” she said.

Her family also noticed her face was dropping.

It became obvious that at 42, Boyd was having a stroke.

“I associate someone with having a stroke with being older and didn’t know it could happen so young,” she said.

“Strokes can happen to anyone of any age, so even babies can have strokes,” Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, said.

Bushnell is a neurologist and the director of The Comprehensive Stroke Center at Wake Forest Baptist Health.

“We’re seeing more and more adults under the age of 50 with stroke,” she said.

Doctors believe that risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity are starting earlier in life.

Although younger people have a better chance at recovery, a stroke can have a greater impact on them because they are in the prime of their life.

Given the stroke’s severity, many can find themselves out of work and in need of a caretaker.

Boyd says the quick response from her family and medical teams helped position her for the best outcome.

Five months after her stroke, she is doing well.

To identify the signs of a stroke remember the acronym FAST.

F – Face Drooping, A – Arm Weakness, S – Speech Difficulty, T – Time to call 9-1-1

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