What young people need to know about strokes

Model Hailey Bieber says she is fine after a health scare, suffering a blood clot to her brain this past week.

Bieber, wife of pop star Justin Bieber, posted on Instagram Saturday that she was having breakfast with her husband on Thursday when she began feeling stroke-like symptoms.

Taken to the hospital, she said doctors had found a small blood clot on her brain. But she said her body passed it on its own and she recovered completely within a few hours.

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"Although this was definitely one of the scariest moments I’ve ever been through, I’m home now and doing well, and I’m so grateful and thankful to all the amazing doctors and nurses who took care of me," she wrote.

Bieber’s health scare comes one month after her husband, Justin Bieber, contracted COVID-19. The singer, who has since recovered from the disease, had to postpone multiple concert dates on his Justice World Tour, including a show in Las Vegas, which was later rescheduled to June.

What to know

In the U.S., strokes are the fifth cause of death and leading cause of disability, according to the American Stroke Association. It happens when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either "blocked by a clot or bursts." The ASA says this happens when part of the brain can’t get the blood and oxygen it needs.

On average, someone died of a stroke every 3 minutes and 30 seconds in 2016, according to the American Heart Association. Stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, are becoming more common in younger and middle-aged people.

According to Johns Hopkins, stroke risk increases with age, and African Americans are at a higher risk for death and disability from a stroke than white people.

Recently, Nature published an article about a large study in which researchers found that the rates of many conditions such as heart failure and stroke "were substantially higher in people who had recovered from COVID-19 than in similar people who hadn’t had the disease."

The risk was elevated for those who were younger than 65 and lacked risk factors such as obesity or diabetes.

Over the past 30 years, stroke incidence among adults 49 and younger has continued to increase in southern states and the Midwest, the American Heart Association said in February. Rates have declined for those older than 75.

"We hope that targeted public health interventions will be considered for younger populations, particularly in the regions where stroke incidence is increasing," said Audrey C. Leasure, lead study author and a medical student at Yale University School of Medicine. "When we think about ways to improve these stroke numbers, we need to develop tailored interventions."

Stroke symptoms can be summed in an acronym: BE FAST, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Know the signs

Neurologist Dr. Blake Buletko recommends being familiar with the signs, because you should "never assume you're exempt from having a stroke," he says.

  • Balance: Watch out for a sudden loss of balance or coordination.
  • Eyes: Note any vision loss in one or both eyes, or double vision
  • Face: Watch for drooping on one side of the face.
  • Arms: Note any sudden weakness in an arm or leg.
  • Speech: Note any slurred speech, or difficulty speaking or understanding words
  • Time: Call 911 quickly if someone is experiencing any of these symptoms.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.