What Young People Should Know About Stroke Risks

July 17, 2023 – Alex McKeown, 33, works in a demanding and stressful job in the investment industry in Chicago, negotiating and closing deals for large retail companies.

“On the whole, I would characterize my health as pretty good,” he said. “I’ve never had major surgeries, I’m not overweight, I eat pretty decently, and I work out at the gym.”

But it was during a workout at his fitness center that everything changed.

“I woke up tired and probably wouldn’t have gone to the gym, except that I didn’t want to pay the $25 fee for a missed class,” he said.

After the first few minutes of his workout, he began to feel lightheaded.

“The room was heated and I was sweating, so I thought I was just dehydrated and needed to drink something,” he said. But soon he began to lose his balance and realized he needed to sit down on the floor.

The fitness instructor offered him water and orange juice. As he reached out to take the juice with his left hand, he saw that it was weak. He began sipping the juice, and one of the staff members noticed that he didn’t seem to be improving.

They called 911, and by the time the paramedics arrived, McKeown was losing control of his left arm and leg and couldn’t stand up on his own. He was taken to Northwestern Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a stroke.

Strokes in Young People

We tend to associate strokes with older people, but strokes can happen to anyone — although they’re much less common in younger people, according to Ali Shaibani, MD, chief of neurointerventional radiology and a professor of radiology at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.

Shaibani, who treated McKeown, said it’s unclear what actually caused his stroke. Shaibani first suspected it was what is known as dissection, a tear in a layer of a blood vessel, but “that turned out not to be the case.” This type of injury is the most common cause of strokes in young people.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo

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