Beating Stroke at Age 33

Tori-SewardTori Seward, 33, knows from experience that a stroke can happen to anyone at any age at any time. Last June, the hairdresser with the infectious smile suffered a vertebral artery dissection in her neck, which led to a brain bleed, which led to a stroke.

At Memorial Medical Center, she spent two weeks in the neurology nursing care unit before embarking on five-hour daily therapy treatments. The rehabilitation significantly improved her ability to return to a normal life. There, she learned how to use a wheelchair, then a walker and a cane. Today she walks without any aids.

While Tori’s stroke presented itself in a unique manner, there are specific things to look for in a potential stroke situation. FAST is the Face, Arm and Speech Test, which is an easy way to quickly identify the early warning signs of a stroke. If you identify problems while giving this simple test, call 911 and seek medical help immediately. The time you save could save your life or the life of someone you love.

First, check for facial weakness. An uneven smile or weakness on one side could mean trouble.
Next, check for arm weakness. Inability to raise both arms evenly could be another sign.
Finally, check for impaired speech. Slurred speech or difficulty repeating simple phrases could mean a stroke.

More ways to spot a stroke:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Remember, every minute counts. Time is brain! Do not wait to call 911. Seeking immediate attention is crucial for stroke victims. Emergency response to a stroke affects the severity of the outcome.