DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — With strokes among young people on the rise, one Ohio stroke survivor is urging the public to proactively take care of their bodies.
“I should’ve been paying more attention to my body,” said two-time stroke survivor Michelle Bishop, 55.
Bishop said her second and most alarming stroke was called a TIA or transient ischemic attack, which are sometimes difficult to detect on scans. She said in hindsight, she didn’t give enough attention to stress and to an ongoing headache – acting quickly may have allowed for a better outcome.
“I tried to, you know, take the high road after this happened, but it did affect me,” she said. “You know, it affected my memory … there were things that, you know, now … it has taken away from me.”
A neurologist with Kettering Health, Dr. John Durrani, said he’s seen patients as young as 21 years old come in for stroke treatment. He added, while younger people don’t always think about long term health implications, starting early is the best way to prevent negative outcomes in the future.
“When somebody is 21 years old or 30 years old or 40 years old and has a stroke, they still have a long life to live,” he said. “So that could be potentially 30, 40, 50 years of disability that they did not anticipate having.”
He said one of the best ways to prevent that is through regular exercise and eating healthy meals to prevent obesity and high blood pressure. Family physician at Mercy Health Dr. Joe Morman said he too has recently seen a 19-year-old patient treated for a stroke. He added avoiding smoking and drug use are also crucial to preventing strokes. But if one does occur, he said the next best action is to seek help immediately.
“There’s a golden hour,” Morman explained. “There’s special medicine that can … dissolve a clot. We can stop the stroke, we can get that function back, but it has to happen right away because once the brain has gone without that blood flow for time, you will lose that function and it could be forever.”
Bishop added, “You know, I can say I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I still had a stroke. I don’t want to harp on … every little teeny tiny booboo as we say. You know, but if your body is telling you something, if you’re feeling something different, or if … you feel like something’s wrong, go with it.”
Dr. Morman and Dr. Durani said strokes are often indicated by a drooping face, loss of balance or loss of function on one side of the body. If you start to experience any of those symptoms, you or someone you know should immediately call 911.