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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Women's Health Channel
Reported September 19, 2011

Young, Healthy & Struck By Stroke

PORTLAND, Ore. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S has a stroke. If you think it only happens to seniors think again! Thirty-percent of strokes happen to women in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

Whether she’s strumming her guitar or sewing a blanket, Britta Folden loves to express her creativity

 “They’re basically like big scrapbooks,” Britta Folden told Ivanhoe.

But at just 26-years-old, she never would have imagined having a stroke as she got ready for bed.

 “I just knew something was wrong. I couldn’t move my arm in the right way and also my lips, my face felt numb too,” Folden explained.

Jessie Porter was 30 and otherwise healthy. So when a bad headache hit one morning, she didn’t think much about it.

 “My arms from about my elbows down started to get all tingly and kind of numb,” Jessie Porter told Ivanhoe.

The risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking. But Britta and Jessie didn’t have any of those risks. Instead, both had congenital abnormalities that neither was aware of. One in five people have a hole in their heart like Jessie. That can increase your stroke risk by 25-percent.

“That’s the scary thing I think about stroke in young people from these congenital causes is often there’s no reason to be suspicious that you’re at risk for stroke,” Dr. Lisa Yanase, from Providence Medical Center in Portland, Oregon told Ivanhoe.
Knowing the signs can save your life. Use the fast screen. “F” is for face. Is there weakness on one side? “A” is for arm. Can you hold your arms out without drooping? “S” is for speech. Is it slurred or garbled? And “T” is for time. Get to the hospital quickly.

“Trust your instincts. It’s never really going to hurt really to go to the hospital,” Folden concluded.

A decision that’s keeping Britta playing her song.
Time is of the essence with stroke. If given within three hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA-approved drug that may reduce long term disability for the most common type of stroke.

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