(WBNG) — A stroke occurs when blood supply traveling to the brain is disrupted by a clot or the bursting of a blood vessel.
Many people believe strokes only affect the elderly, but doctors say that is a misconception.
After 52-year-old Luke Perry died after suffering from a massive stroke, doctors are sharing tips about how you can make sure you’re staying healthy.
“Unfortunately, I’ve seen strokes in people as young as their late 20’s. So it’s not a disease process that only affects the elderly,” said Dr. Benjamin Hilliker of the emergency department at Lourdes.
“The stroke actually can affect anybody. Even a kid inside the uterus all the way to 90 years old,” said Dr. Yahia Lodi, UHS Director of Comprehensive Stroke and Neuroendovascular Center.
Although strokes are more common in those who are older, it’s certain risk factors that doctors say can trigger them at any age.
“Hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and unhealthy diet or inappropriate or proportions of the body mass, especially in the case of the female,” said Dr. Lodi.
“It’s all about living a healthy lifestyle. Diet, exercise, avoiding illicit drugs which can precipitate stroke as well, having regular check ups,” said Dr. Hilliker.
No matter how old, you should be aware of the warning signs.
One acronym people use is FAST. Face drooping, arm drifting, and speech difficulty means it’s time to call 911.
While those are well known warning signs, there are also some other stroke symptoms that may come on suddenly.
“Sudden weakness and numbness, sudden dizziness, or sudden severe headache,” said Dr. Lodi.
Not only does recognition help recovery, doctors say timing is also key.
“Two million cells die each minute. Therefore, the longer you stay, the chance of recovery is much less,” said Dr. Lodi.
Doctors say they are able to treat strokes by using medications to break down clots, or medical devices to remove clots completely and repair aneurysms.