Dr Oz: Strokes In Younger Women
Dr Oz shared that an alarming report shows that strokes are now happening more and more often to women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Strokes in young women are on the rise, so Dr Oz wants to make sure you know the warning signs. Dr Oz was joined by three women who each had a stroke before age 40.
Dr Oz started by talking to Jennifer who had a stroke in her 20s, but had no risk factors. Megan was on the pill, was healthy, thought maybe she was pregnant, but ended up having a stroke. Diana was around 30 when she suffered a stroke, and said she had no risk factors. She was even surfing and doing yoga the day of her stroke, and it turns out she had a tiny tear in the artery of her neck.
Dr Oz: Risk Factors For Stroke
Each year, almost half a million women suffer a stroke, which is 55,000 more than men. The average age of a stroke victim is 68 but there’s been a 23% rise in stroke among younger women over the last 20 years. If you’re a woman, you’re more likely to die, partly because your symptoms and risk factors are different than men, and more easily missed.
The classic risk factors for stroke that apply to everyone include high blood pressure, diabetes, family history, smoking, and obesity. However, women should add to that list migraines, depression, pregnancy, the pill, and possibly even drinking soda, regular or diet, or sweetened fruit juice.
Dr Oz: What Happens When You Have A Stroke?
Dr Oz started by explaining what happens inside your body during a stroke. When you have a blood clot, it will form in a large vessel. That clot can fly up and get caught in the little “streams” that come off the big arteries in the brain.
It can then block off the oxygen and blood that would normally give life to that part of the brain, and that part of the brain begins to die. It is then that you start to feel symptoms, but it may not always present how you think it would. Dr Oz explained that depending on where in the brain the blood clot is, you could get completely different symptoms than someone else with the same kind of problem.
Dr Oz: FAST + Face Drooping
Dr Oz first explained that it’s not always just the sign but also how fast in which the sign presents itself. Remember FAST for the signs of a stroke, with the F standing for face drooping, particularly one side of your face. Jennifer said she went to the ER and when they asked her to smile, she thought she was smiling “like a model,” but she wasn’t. The right side of her face was drooping.
Dr Oz: Arm Weakness Sign Of Stroke
Next is the A, which stands for arm weakness. It will present on one side of your body because the blood clot will block the blood supply to one part of your brain, but the other side of your body away from that side will have the symptom. For example, if you have a clot on the right side of your brain, your left arm will go weak. Megan said she actually dropped a bowl, and then found that just a drink was too heavy for her hold. She asked her husband to pinch her hand and when he did, she couldn’t feel it at all. It was then that she went to the ER.
Dr Oz asked everyone to raise their arms up in front of them to see if they’re symmetrical, then put them down, and raise them back up again. He said by doing so it will see if not only can the person lift their arms correctly, but can understand what you’re saying to them.
Dr Oz: Speech Difficulties During Stroke
The S in FAST stands for speech. Diana shared that she couldn’t speak, and explained that when she felt her arm go numb, she tried to tell her boyfriend that something was wrong, and in her head she was saying it, but what was coming out was gibberish. Dr Oz said the test he would normally give someone is to simply have them say “the grass is green.” If something seemingly simple suddenly becomes difficult, it’s a sign of a serious problem.
Dr Oz: Time Is Brain
Finally, the T in FAST stands for time, because even neurologists say “time is brain.” The faster you get to the help you need, the better your chance for a full recovery. As soon as you notice that something is wrong, get to the ER.
Dr Oz: Subtle Signs Of Stroke
In addition to those FAST signs, there are subtle signs that every woman needs to know. Dr Carolyn Brockington explained that the subtle signs depend on the part of the brain that has been affected. You could have vision changes, headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea/vomiting, or sudden hiccups. Remember if it’s the worst headache of your life, that’s a good sign something is wrong, so act fast.
If you have two or more of those subtle signs, act quickly and get to the ER. You can also call 911, but either way be sure to say, “I think I’m having a stroke” rather than just listing your symptoms. Sometimes if you’re young, people will think it’s something else, so you need to clue them in. “Be a smart patient to save yourself,” Dr Oz said.