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21 years old, had a stroke

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Old 07-16-2012, 11:17 PM   #1
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21 years old, had a stroke

Hi guys, 3 days ago I had a really minor stroke. I was just sitting at my computer working around 3 pm when I got really lightheaded for like 10-20 seconds and then noticed my right arm and leg were partially numb. When I got up to walk I could still walk but I had a lot less control over my right leg and walking on it felt really weird. The same was true of my right arm. At the time I didn't really think it was a big deal and hoped it would just go away on its own. I didn't go to the hospital or anything. I even rode my motorcycle home from work. When I got up the next morning my right leg felt like it had gotten worse so I decided to go to the ER.

At the ER they did a cat scan, ekg, and blood test and couldn't find anything. Finally, after about 5 hours at the ER, they decided to do an MRI and found I had had a really small stroke in the left side of my brain. I think the doctor called it a punctuated something-or-other. I think he also said it was embolic.

They then did another cat scan of my head and neck and an echocardiogram including a bubble test. Neither of those showed anything wrong. They also took a bunch of blood and are testing it for a bunch of autoimmune disorders and I'm scheduled to see a neurologist when those results come back. While I was in the hospital they were giving me shots of heparin every 8 hours.

Three days after the stroke I'm feeling a lot better. As far as I can tell, my arm's at 99% of what it was before the stroke and my leg's at 85-90%.

As far as medical history goes the only significant things all happened about a year ago when I was diagnosed with duodenal ulcers, anemia, and celiacs disease (all pretty much at the same time). The ulcers healed a long time ago. I don't know if the anemia ever got better; I'm pretty sure they tested it while I was in the hospital but they never told me the result.

I'm just really shocked though because I thought I would be the last person to have a stroke. I'm 21 years old. I'm 6' tall and weigh 160 lbs. My blood pressure is low. They took it a bunch while I was in the hospital and most of the time it was between 100/60 and 120/80. They tested my cholesterol while I was in the hospital and said it was great. I'm athletic. Since I've started an internship this Summer I've been exercising 1-2 hours 1-2 times a week, but during the school year when I have more time I usually exercise 2-4 times a week. Other than 4-5 months about a year ago when I was smoking marijuana, I've never used any drugs. I haven't even had any caffeine in two years and stopped consuming sugar a couple months ago.

I do, however, have a poor diet and drink a little more alcohol than is healthy. I usually have 2-3 beers/glasses of wine each night; I haven't been drinking like this for a long time though. If you exclude the last 4 months, I've probably been drinking once or twice every 2 weeks on average over the last 3 years (although most of those nights were binge drinking). The night before the stroke I didn't drink any more than usual.

When I left the hospital the only special instruction they gave me were to take a baby aspirin once a day, but do I need to be careful about anything? Is it ok for me to run, play basketball, etc? What about riding my motorcycle to work? Is it ok for me to have a couple drinks with my meals? Is it ok for me to drink alot (there's a party I wanted to go to this weekend)?

Also, that kind of lightheaded feeling I had during the stroke; that feeling comes to me once or twice each month. But it's not just lightheaded, I can't really describe it, except that it's almost exactly the same as the feeling I had during the stroke, except less intense and without any numbness or weakness in my arms or legs afterwards. I told the neurologist this but he didn't make much of it. Could it mean anything?

Also, I forgot to mention this to the neurologist, but I used to get panic attacks. I used to have them when I was a kid, and then later on only when I smoked marijuana, but I still get what I think are called limited symptom attacks (I had a brief limited symptom attack during the stroke).

Anyways, if you guys had any thoughts/advice/reassurances I'd really appreciate it. I'm worried about this happening again.

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Old 07-17-2012, 12:11 AM   #2
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Re: 21 years old, had a stroke

The test results for autoimmune disease will be important as some are associated with antiphospholipid syndrome which predisposes to strokes from clots. If those are negative, I would recommend seeing a hemaologist who can do other blood tests looking for things that predispose to clots and strokes, as there are many, most of which can be treated to prevent more from happening. The aspirin in the meantime is important, and could cause you to bleed longer if you got cut or injured, so just be aware, and always tell your Dr's about the stroke and aspirin when you see someone new. The lightheaded episodes may have been warnings or transient ischemic attacks before the stroke. You are lucky they pursued this in ER beyond the initial tests. As for the drinking, why play with fire? Discretion can go a long way to keep you healthy.

Old 07-17-2012, 03:22 PM   #3
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Re: 21 years old, had a stroke

Hello and welcome. I am so sorry to hear of your stroke. You are so young and we are hearing of younger people having strokes all the time. I cant stress to you strongly enough to persue better care and someone who can give you answers. You are a young person with a whole life ahead of you. If you dont get answers ask for a second, third and fourth opinion. Your worth it. I did and I was very glad I did. There are so many reason for stroke, condition, medication, our health but really, should they not be more investingating and exhaust all avenues to trying to find a reason. It sounds like your doing some good things to change your life style and be healthier. Thats always good. But I understand why you are concerned. You are your own advocate, and you must insist on good care and answers.
Please keep us posted on how your making out
God Bless Mulchie

Old 07-17-2012, 08:02 PM   #4
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Re: 21 years old, had a stroke

I'm 24 and your symptoms sound a lot like mine (especially that lightheaded, but not really feeling - I hate having to try and explain that) except no stroke showed up on my MRI or CT scan. Don't you just love how they throw these things at you without any instructions for going about your daily life? I'm struggling to get past the anxiety factor of working out alone so I've stopped going to the gym for the time being, but I've read that exercise, especially cardio, is important after a stroke so you can probably keep up with the running and things of the sort.

Old 07-18-2012, 07:38 PM   #5
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Re: 21 years old, had a stroke

hi Booker, I'm very sorry to read of your recent stroke. you sound like you're making some positive lifestyle changes.

that said, I think exercise is okay to do and important, though II think I'd be very careful with the drinking. my stroke was almost twenty years ago, my doctors told me no drinking at all, not that I was ever much of a drinker, a 6 pack will last me 5-6 months.

if you're riding motorcycle to work? be very careful! as you need good both hands/feet for proper control. you may well have had a very small stroke? even a small stroke is a major brain trauma? you may be very lucky? but, luck/life can change in an instant

good luck and god bless. welcome to our group

happiness is a way of life, not a goal in life, success comes in cans not can'ts

Old 07-18-2012, 10:12 PM   #6
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Re: 21 years old, had a stroke

Everyone covered most my points, STAY HYDRATED, that is one my dr stresses over and over. I got the ok for a glass of wine on occassion after two months but only with lots of water. My stroke was caused by a dissected artery, its still closed off, so when you drink you beome dehydrated, your blood thickens, and doesnt flow as well. n my case smaller arterys are trying to do the work of the larger closed one and have expanded to do the job, so dehydation is a re4al concern. However I believe (I coild be wrong) that it is a real concern for anyone after a stroke no matter the cause. Laos some studis say it can harm recovery after a stroke, some say it helps, who knows for sure. I don't do anything without my Dr's ok first.

Last edited by jlh1; 07-18-2012 at 10:15 PM. Reason: didnt make sense, lol

Old 07-23-2012, 11:55 PM   #7
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Re: 21 years old, had a stroke

Hello to you, and I join the others in offering you support after your recent stroke. It is always shocking to hear of the younger and younger folks coming here following stroke! As we continue to learn everyday, there are more and more causes of stroke than we ever realized before, and many more who remain mysteries. I agree with the others, who encourage you to learn all you can about this stroke now, and continue to keep yourself aware of the current stroke related information as time passes. Once you have had a stroke, you are always going to run a higher risk of another.

That being said, you also want to be free to live your life full of activity and all the things that interest you, without living in fear. A healthy respect is all you need to monitor your life.

I would document any future dizzy spells, with any details included, Keep your doctor informed of these, if they should ever increase or become more intense.

It sounds to me as if your doctor released you with no restrictions, but it is fine to use your own discretion when making decisions about riding your motorcycle or not. You sound like a thoughtful and postive minded young man, and we wish you the very best.

We are all behind you! Best of luck

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