Would you know how to recognize a stroke?

Actor Luke Perry’s death is a reminder that strokes don’t just happen to older Americans.

Jon Eggert says his wife, Kelli, suffered a stroke just days before their wedding ceremony.  She is just 35 years old.

The stroke happened in the middle of the night, and luckily Jon was able to immediately recognize the symptoms, was able to call 911, and got her to the hospital.  Still, his wife may still need lasting care.

“Unfortunately it took over four hours to restore blood flow to the left side of her brain,” says Jon.  “She has a long road ahead of her, and she’ll most likely have some permanent disability.”

Health officials say while Kelli’s situation is unusual – it’s not unheard of.

“Stroke can happen at any age,” says Tracey Ash, a Stroke Program Manager at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.  “It can happen in infants, it can happen anytime, although it’s less common in people under age 60.”

Health officials say follow the “FAST” acronym to remember what symptoms to watch out for:

  • “F” stands for facial drooping
  • “A” stands for your arms (or legs) going numb, or being unable to move them
  • “S” stands for slurred speech, or trouble speaking
  • “T” stands for timing – you need to get to the Emergency Room.

Doctors say the quicker you can get to the hospital, the better your chances of recovering.

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