In the past, your experience with stroke may have been with friends or family who were 70 and older. But that’s not just the case anymore. A stroke can happen to anyone, as seen by Malcom in the Middle star Frankie Muniz, who suffered a mini-stroke at the age of just 27 last week. Although less than 10 percent of people who have a stroke are under the age of 45, the incidence is rising, and Muniz is one of many examples of those having a stroke at a younger age.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of strokes occurring among the younger generation and the number of strokes occurring in older people is declining,” says Rhonda Lovec-Theobald, RN, MA, BSN, CNRN, Brain Attack Center Manager for the Florida Hospital Neuroscience Institute. “The rise of this occurrence over the past 15 years is primarily aligned with the growth of traditional risk factors like hypertension, obesity, diabetes and high rates of tobacco and alcohol use within this younger age group.”
Muniz appeared on Good Morning America, stating “I couldn’t say words. I thought I was saying them. My fiancé was looking at me like I was speaking a foreign language.” Sudden trouble speaking or understanding what is said is one of the warning signs of stroke and caused Muniz’s friends to realize something was wrong. Identifying the warning signs quickly is very important since the longer a stroke goes untreated. Every minute, two million brain cells die, reducing chances for recovery by 1 percent.
Warning Signs of a Stroke
- Sudden numbness of the face, arm, or leg or sudden weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, such as blurred or double vision or vision loss often where the person is not able to see anything on one side of their body.
- Sudden with speaking or understanding what is said.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Stroke is always an emergency. Call 9-1-1 right away if you or someone you know has any of the warning signs of stroke, even if they go away.