Too young for a stroke?

Too young for a stroke?
(Source: Ivanhoe Newswire)
(Source: Ivanhoe Newswire)

ORLANDO, FL (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) -- If you think you're too young to have a stroke, think again.  In the United States, 25% of all stroke patients are under 65, and there has been a steep increase in strokes among people in their 30's and 40's. Doctors say these younger patients may be ignoring the stroke risk factors until it's too late.

For Lennox Flynn and his eight-year old daughter, Leah, music is a family affair.

"We play together … hymns, some classical pieces sometimes," says Lennox.

Music also brought Lennox back from the edge of a medical disaster.

His wife, Paula, says "He was really complaining of pain in the shoulder, there was a droop in the face, piercing headache."

Lennox suffered a major stroke and was paralyzed on the right side. He was 51, newly married, and about to become a father again. He was also determined to fully recover.

"He would look at his hand, lift his hand and say how am I going to play again?" Paula says.

Neurosurgeon at the Florida Hospital, Evan Allen, MD, says stroke is more common over the age of 65. But 25% are younger … 10 to 15% are in their 40's or 30's. Part of the reason? A sharp increase nationwide in younger people with stroke risk factors like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

"If you have high blood pressure, get it treated adequately. Don't try to think you are healthier or safer off your medicines. The exact opposite is true," says Allen.

Eight years post-stroke, he is almost completely recovered, thanks to physical therapy and sheer determination.

"There's blessing in adversity," Lennox says.

Lennox says his therapy restored his strength so he could cultivate his daughter's talent. Years of working to recover his musical skills sparked her passion to play.

He says, "Music inspires her, and she just inspires me every day."

Doctors say many people age 45 and younger are not aware of the signs of stroke. Think of the acronym "fast" … face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and "t" for time … time to call 9-1-1.

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