Spike in younger patients having strokes

It's a wake up call for anyone between the ages of 18 to 35 - doctors say there is an increase in the number of young people suffering strokes. And stress may be a factor.

It's a wake-up call for anyone between the ages of 18 to 35. Doctors say there is an increase in the number of young people suffering strokes. And stress may be a factor.

At 32 years old, Fred Saunders had a stroke in the middle of a gym.

"(The) ambulance came took me to hospital and said I had a stroke."

There were no warning signs, no family history either.

Fred was eating right and working out regularly, so it never occurred to him that his health was in danger.

"I was just getting ready to do a fitness competition, so I just thought I was tired."

Medical experts say younger people don't know what's wrong with them and just write it off as something like exhaustion or a pain that will go away.

"It is a strange phenomena to have such young patients stricken with stroke, but you have to understand the nature of stroke. It's based on an accumulation of events that occur and that can cause a stroke," said Dr. Patricia Squires.

Patients can be as young as 18, healthy, active, with no signs or symptoms.

"Unfortunately a stroke is not prejudiced. It'll hit anybody, at any point. Stress can cause vessels to constrict and if you have the tiniest blood clot it can stop that, impede that flow, just as long as it takes to impede that flow," said Dr. Squires.

That block is what can lead to a stroke.

Fred admits that he was really pushing himself at the time.

"When I had my stroke, I had three jobs and I was trying to train for a competition. Just probably not getting enough rest."

If you're not getting enough sleep or eating right, you can be increasing your chances of suffering a stroke.

Some of the symptoms include facial drooping, problems with your speech, tingling in your arms or legs, or numbness on one side of your body.

Knowing your symptoms can make all the difference.

"As soon as you can get in we can check you out and see if you qualify and if we can get that medicine into you it can bust up that clot and immediately return circulation to the brain," said Dr. Squires.

There is no such thing as being too young to have a stroke.


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