Did you know that 25% of stroke victims are under 65? My healthy, 41 year old husband had a stroke 8 days ago. He had no high blood pressure, high cholesterol, was a non-smoker and had never used drugs. (What he DID have was two grandfathers who died of stroke!)
My husband also didn’t have the “typical” stroke symptoms. He had no paralysis, no headache, no weakness, he wasn’t slurring his speech. He was walking normally.
What he experienced was vision changes.
He felt a “pop” (no pain), and suddenly his eyes stopped working normally. He said it felt like he was looking at me through a kaleidoscope. Then he lost 25% of the vision in each eye.
Looking back, he believes he may have had a TIA (transient ischemic attack), a “mini” stroke that sometimes comes before a major one.
He experienced visual disturbance but it cleared up. He regrets not getting that checked out back then, because he may have been able to prevent the massive stroke that came later.
8 days after the stroke, my husband is feeling a bit better today. He did end up back in the ER due to a bad reaction to the Lipitor (a statin that is commonly prescribed after stroke to help prevent reoccurence).
The ER docs told him to stop taking it and he’s feeling better. He has a lot of fatigue and pressure behind his eye. We’re assuming that his eyes are working overtime trying to see well and will have more answers about that after he sees the eye specialist tomorrow.
He has several doctor’s appointments this week and will probably have some therapy to help him regain vision. At this time he’s not allowed to drive because his peripheral vision is gone. I have every hope that this will dramatically improve with time. He’s young and healthy and the brain has a remarkable ability to heal itself.
I did a Facebook live this morning to share his story.
I mentioned Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher and scientist who experienced a massive stroke that took her 8 years to recover from. She had lost all control over her body, couldn’t talk, walk or read. Her Ted.com talk, My Stroke of Insight, is so moving and interesting! I reserved her book by the same title at my local library.
Because 25% of stroke victims are young, it’s important to know the signs.
F.A.S.T. is a good acronym.
F – face. Lopsided smile
A – arm. Weakness in one arm/side.
S – speech difficulties. Slurred or warbled speech.
T – time. Call 911 quickly.
Again, my husband had NONE of these symptoms.
Trouble seeing in one or both eyes is a symptom of stroke and I wish it was in the mnemonic!