Younger stroke survivors

Watching Chelsy struggle to read the most basic children's story book in a home video shot by her family is shocking when you realize she was 28-years-old at the time.

Then you hear her story, and you understand. A month earlier, she was the victim of a stroke. She just collapsed one night without warning, with a sudden blockage of blood in the brain, or bleeding in the brain, either one of which can kill you or severely disable you if not treated within hours.

Her story used to be uncommon, but it's not any more, as strokes in the younger generation are on the rise. Doctors, such as the ones in the well-regarded Stroke Program at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles don't have all the answers. One thing they do know for certain is that there are more cases of younger people suffering strokes in high-risk sports, which could result in neck injuries with arterial tears.

There is also some research that shows birth control pills or pregnancies, both of which alter hormones, increase the risk of a stroke. Some doctors even blame addiction to chemical-laden energy drinks. Bottom line, strokes can hit anyone, and in 25% of cases, such as Chelsy’s, there's never a clear indication why.

Strokes don't just happen to older people, to sick people, to obese people, or to people with high blood pressure. It's important to recognize symptoms and don't assume they'll ''go away by tomorrow'', which younger people often do with debilitating or fatal results. Be on the lookout for these symptoms: sudden loss of vision in one eye, loss of strength on one side of your body, loss of balance, sudden blinding headaches. Go to an ER, or at least call your doctor. It could be a life or death decision.

Chelsy, whose stroke hit without any of these warning signs, is now, some 15 months later,  doing much much better, though not perfect, and her story is a wake-up call to everyone.

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