The number of strokes in people under age 55 has doubled. And there’s been a 30 percent rise in the number of strokes from blood clots in the brains of boys and girls under age 14! 

According to the experts, the increase in strokes is connected to our unhealthy lifestyle, which causes obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Most stokes are caused by blood clots, or a narrowing of the arteries in the brain. But 1 in 5 stroke victims have a “warning stroke” or “mini stroke” anywhere from an hour to a week before a major stroke. It’s usually a blockage that’s so minor, your body’s anti-clotting agents dissolve the clot. So, it typically lasts less than 5 minutes, and doesn’t damage your brain. But it means the big one could be coming. And knowing what to do if you’re having a stroke could make the difference between staying active, and becoming bedridden. The symptoms of both types of stroke are identical: 

A sudden, severe headache

Weakness in one arm

Drooping muscles in your face

Dizziness

Trouble speaking

Neurologist Dr. Peter Rothwell says that if you have ANY of those symptoms, you need to get to the ER as fast as possible. And that’s true even if the symptoms go away. Because doctors have blood clot-busting treatments that can greatly reduce your chances of suffering a major stroke.  

You might also want to find out which of your local hospitals are primary stroke centers. Because they have specialists on duty 24/7 – along with the equipment they need to diagnose and treat stroke victims quickly. 

Finally, if you have stroke symptoms, never hesitate to call 9-1-1. Because during a stroke, your brain loses about 2 million brain cells a minute! So, every second counts.