Strokes in the Youth
It can happen at any second.
That moment when your brain doesn't have enough oxygen and cells begin to slowly die.
Its called a stroke.
As people get older the chances of getting a stroke increase dramatically.
But new research shows older people are not the only ones at risk.
One out of every four strokes happens to someone under the age of 65.
Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke in the United States.
At eighteen, Barbie Diaz believed she had plenty of time before she needed to worry about having a stroke.
But on November 17th 2010 the symptoms hit her.
UF Student, Barbie Diaz knew something was wrong when her "left side was completely paralyzed and like while driving. I got in a car accident."
An accident, caused by the onset of a severe stroke.
But after pulling over, the other driver involved in the crash thought something else might be going on.
Diaz remembers that moment when "they came up to my window and they told me 'sober up cause the cops are coming' and I was just like I dont drink. I dont do drugs."
But who would think a fit, healthy 18 year old could have a stroke?
The Centers for Disease Control released a study showing strokes are not that uncommon among young people.
Anywhere between four thousand to thirteen thousand people between the ages 15 to 44 suffer from a stroke each year...
The question is why...
The answer is a bit shocking.
Dr. Mary George conduced the study for the CDC and she explained, "we found a lot of those traditional risk factors that we think of as occurring in older adults in young adults."
Things like high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes.
Or even preexisting conditions like the one diaz has could cause a stroke.
Time it can mean all the difference between a full recovery and permanent damage when you're having a stroke. So its important to know the signs. Like, a massive headache or numbness in half your face or slurred speech. And you could even experience a spinning sensation while your having a stroke.
For Diaz, timing was everything.
According to her doctor, if she had gone home and fallen sleep like she had planned she probably would have woke up paralyzed.
A problem people face when they don't know the signs of a stroke.
Doctor Michael Waters is a Neurology specialist at Shands and he explains some of the big problems, "Instead of coming to the hospital and being evaluated very rapidly for this...they will try to sleep it off or they will attribute it to something else. And the second or third day that really limits what I can do."
Limiting the recovery process.
With Dr. Waters help, Barbie Diaz was able to walk out of the hospital four days later.
And now she hopes people will hear her story an know that strokes can happen to anyone saying, "It happens more often than people think and even though its not super common, it is happening though. Its happening everyday."
In fact in the time that you have watch this about three people have had a stroke.
On average 130 thousand people die from a stroke each year.
Thats just a little more than the entire population of Gainesville.
Barbie Diaz has not had a stroke for more than two years now.
She receives blood transfusions for her condition twice a month to limit the chances of her having another stoke.
For more information on strokes, go to http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/.
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