This post was written in collaboration with American Stroke Association however, all opinions, ideas, thoughts, and tips shared are my own.
I did not know what was happening to me. I wasn’t able to sleep, having panic attacks, always worried – I just felt so unlike myself. These episodes went on for months before I saw a doctor. My annual visit was coming up, so I just waited.
By the time my doctor’s appointment rolled around I started having headaches. These headaches were different from my migraines, they were subtle and constant and would not go away. I walked into my doctor’s office as though nothing was wrong. I thought if I pretend that all is well, then it will be. Have you ever done that, avoided an issue out of fear? In my heart of hearts, I knew something was wrong but thought perhaps it’s nothing.
My doctor walked into my exam room and the first thing she did was take my blood pressure. For the first time since the birth of my son (4 years earlier) I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It was so high that she referred me to her husband who’s a primary care physician to be seen as soon as possible. I remember having a sigh of relief, high blood pressure ran in my family and I truly did not think that it was that bad.
There were several attempts to schedule my appointment with the primary care doctor but my travel schedule was super busy during that time. To be honest I did not make it a priority because I really did not think it was a huge deal. I figured I needed to adjust my eating and start doing Bikram yoga again….so I did.
A month later I am traveling for work. I had a slight headache during the whole trip. I took meds, canceled meetings to rest but could not get the headache to go away. I called my husband from my hotel room and told him that I was ordering room service and calling it a night. Hours later, I had not slept and the pain was not letting up even after taking meds. I suffer from migraines, so I know that sometimes the meds do not work and you just have to rest. So, I laid down until my left arm started going numb. I jumped up from the bed and tried to call my husband. When he didn’t answer I knew I needed to go to the hospital.
I went to the front desk to have my car pulled around from valet and the gentleman said, “you don’t look like you should be driving, are you okay?” I said “no, I think I need to go to the hospital.” He came out and checked my blood pressure. When the machine stopped, he looked at it and yelled “call the ambulance NOW!”
Long story short, the ambulance came and took me to the hospital where I was admitted immediately. On my way to the hospital, I will never forget the look on the Medic’s face as he tried to give me oxygen and an IV. My blood pressure was stroke level.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT STROKE
Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the number 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.
- 87% of strokes are classified as ischemic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot or a mass blocks a blood vessel, cutting off blood flow to a part of the brain. (Result of High Blood Pressure)
- Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.
- Every four minutes, someone dies of stroke.
- More women than men have strokes each year, in part because women live longer.
- Estimates of the overall annual incidence of stroke in US children are 6.4 per 100,000 children (0 to 15 years), with approximately half being hemorrhagic strokes.
- African-Americans are more impacted by stroke than any other racial group within the American population.
Needless to say, as soon as I returned I went to see my doctor. He placed me on blood pressure medicine, made a few other critical suggestions, and took me off work for a while. He told me that his conversation with the hospital was very alarming. Had I not gone to the hospital, things could have been very different for me.
After my incident I began researching strokes, and to my surprise I learned while strokes are largely treatable, they can also be deadly. Knowing the signs of stroke is critically important. The faster you are treated, the more likely you are to recover.
Strokes can happen to anyone at any age. It’s so important for you to recognize the signs and call 911 immediately. The American Stroke Association helps you spot a stroke F.A.S.T
Their F.A.S.T. Music Parody Video is very creative and engaging. Statistics show that 1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime. Please take a look so that you can learn the signs of stroke and know when it’s time to call 911.
I was blessed to get to the hospital when I did and get the help I desperately needed. As I read more about strokes, I understood why the Medic was looking at me with such intensity and fear in his eyes. Someone has a stroke every 2 seconds, he thought I would be among those victims.
Have you had loved ones suffer from stroke? Did you know how to recognize the signs of stoke? Please share your take-a-ways from this information. Also, October 29th is World Stroke Day please share this blog post and potentially save a life!
For more information visit StrokeAssociation.org
Wow, guess we really need to be more aware of our bodies and unusual symptoms. Thanks for sharing.
It was really scary!
That does sound scary, luckily for you, you took action quick! Thank goodness.. Thanks for sharing
It was very scary.
This really informative and such a great read, made me learn a lot about our bodies. Thank you for sharing.
Yes, it was a scary lesson. I take better care of myself these days.
OMG! That is so super scary. I think I am having a bit of a panic attack right now after reading your post. I know the feeling of waiting to see a doctor – I’m guessing you live in the US? I’m so glad you are ok. Thank you for the list.
how informative and my dad actually had one and early detection really saves life
I had no idea that breathing can help bring blood pressure down. Thank you for sharing such important information.
Yes, I learned that from my yoga class. Bikram Yoga has helped with my blood pressure for sure.
This is such a nice article. Stroke is one of the top 10 leading diseases in my country and awareness is needed.
What an utterly terrifying experience for you to go through! Glad you’re ok, and it’s so important to share what you’ve learned with others. Do take care of yourself!
Amazing tips and informative infographic! Wow….very impressive
This is such an informative post. So important to take immediate action. Thanks for sharing!
What a scary incident. I can totally relate to putting my health on the backburner because I’m to busy and I’ve been trying to get better at it. Thanks for sharing the signs to look out for to prevent and recognize a stroke.
My uncle passed away from having a severe stroke. It’s nothing to play around with. The first signs, one should make an appointment or go right to the hospital. So many times though we think “oh it’s nothing” but we really need to listen better to our bodies. It knows what it’s telling us! I’m so glad to know that someone was there to help you when you needed it the most.
I’m glad you are sharing this information. We have all been affected one way or another by strokes.
My grandfather died from multiple strokes. My father has had them, and I know that I have had a friends day who had one early. I know they can happen at any time and it’s so important to take care of yourself and look out for the signs early.
Lucky you were given the proper medical attention right away. Well, I must take note of these things as well as we have a family history of hypertension and diabetes.
This is indeed a great example of what can happen during a stoke. I am glad you are okay. It is hard to tell when symptoms of a disease or diseases are just like a stoke or heart attack. I have chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia so the hospital told me when I get chest pains to come in to be on the save side. Thanks for sharing your story and the awesome video.
I too have migraines Rebecca. I thought it was just another migraine….but it would not go away. And I began noticing that the pain was different. Not like a migraine, less intense but constant….it was really strange. Now I cam totally tell the difference of my migraines and a high blood pressure headache.
Glad you received the medication at the right time.I didn’t know this much details about a stroke.Better to take care of the symptoms that it becomes more serious!
Thanks for all the details I didn’t know all that information. Glad you were able to seek medical attention in time.