Who can have a stroke? Anyone.
It's not just smokers and drinkers and the stereotyped unhealthy folks. Seemingly completely healthy individuals can collapse from a stroke leaving them unable to care for themselves, altering their lives forever.
If you are healthy and considered low risk, or are someone with a non typical stroke profile, (a typical profile, according to The American Stroke Association, is: smoking, diabeties, high cholesterol, and obesity to name a few), then how would you ever know you might collapse on a flight, while driving, running, babysitting your grandkids or on your way to work if you don't fit this profile? You don't.
Would you ever think to google stroke symptoms if you ran 5 miles everyday, skied 78 days in the Colorado season and hiked up mountains, never smoked a cigarette a day in your life and rarely drank, had low cholesterol, never took heart medicine, and had the six pack of a 25 year old at 65? What if you complained about poor vision but were already at an age were your vision was dissipating? Perhaps you thought it was just getting worse from "old age".
What if you experience headaches and dizziness but you were already stressed from work or finances, had just landed from an international flight or flew all the time for work, lived at a higher altitude, or thought you were only dehydrated? These basic and very general almost everyday like symptoms, and I use the word "everyday" here because these are no out of the ordinary symptoms. They're the kinds of symptoms millions of people experience from exhaustion, dehydration, stress and yes, aging so its easy to over look them. You can also experience these symptons if you skip lunch, and stand up to quickly. Many mothers with young children are light headed because we skip meals and are constanly on the go with our kids, then leaping up quickly to answer the phone from kneeling to bath our kids. A mother at my sons school had a mini stroke last week, she collapsed during a half marathon, while hospitalized she couldn't recognize her kids for two days.
This post was inspired by the need to make people aware of stroke symptoms so you can prevent yourself and your parents from experiencing a truly life altering experience. I'm speaking first hand here.
My Father had an ischemic stroke on an airplane from Vancouver to Shanghai for business on May 15th 2012. The flight performed an emergency landing in Narita, Japan. His condition is bad. He suffered aphasia as a result so cannot speak, though thankfully, he can understand what I am saying. He cannot read or write. His right side of his body is paralyzed but he's trying with all his might to move his right leg. He has feeling in his right foot which is great. His left side is incredibly strong, rating a 3 out of 5 in strenth. He can use his torso, pelvis and chest.
My Father's stroke was a complete shock to everyone that knows him. He was the absolute picture of health. He did infact live exactly as aforementioned at the beginning of this post...Skiied 78 days in Aspen, ran 5miles a day, never smoked a cigarette a day in his life, ate and lived well, had no history of heart disease or high cholestertol. He should not have had a stroke, but he did. The mother at my sons school should not have had a stroke at 43, but she did. So I ask you, would you know what the symptoms of an imminent stroke are?
Many people don't even know what the FAST method of identifying a stroke is. I'd certainly never heard of it until my Father had a stroke and I started looking into stroke awareness.
Some additional background on my Father. He was a running back for the University of Nebraska, he attended The New Mexico Military Institute, and was recently inducted into their Hall of Fame. He attended Harvard Business School, he is a member of YPO/WPO.
Why am I mentioning his accomplishments? To let you know that he traveled in circles where information about stroke awareness should be shared but isn't. He's exposed to information, he's exposed to platforms where leaders and captains of industry make breakthroughs. So why wasn't stroke awareness on his radar? I'm not suggesting if your vision is getting bad you should ask your doctor about blood clots. I'm suggesting that in an age where we can spread amazing awareness about breast cancer and heart disease, why aren't we doing it for strokes?
It's time we share more information, spread what you know from experiences (like Dr. Jill Taylor, who had an out there experience, but she's sharing amazing information as a result), and get the word out there to prevent more people from having strokes, because I sure don't recognize The Stroke Awareness Foundations logo - do you? It's great that less deaths occur as a result of stroke, but more people are having them, and that's bad. The more information out there, the less people will suffer. Please spread the word, get yourself checked out properly if you're already taking heart preventative measures by having your carotid arteries looked at, have a look at Livstrong.com for better stroke information than most of the stroke sites and share this post. Thank you.