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Oct 29, 2014 6:11 PM

Stroke survivors speak on World Stroke Day


MANCHESTER - Every forty seconds someone in America has a stroke. Every four minutes someone dies from one. If you think it's something that only happens to people over 50, think again.

Leah Sevigny had a stroke at 26. She said, "My vision just kept getting really blurry like I was really tired. I kept trying to wipe my eyes. It wasn't clearing my vision. It just kept getting and darker and darker until I just completely lost 100% vision in my right eye."

Doctors thought she was having a migraine until they discovered she had a stroke in her eye. Only some vision has returned.

Sevigny said, "They've checked it three times it hasn't come back. It probably never will. He said your heart is the cause for it - you need to talk to your cardiologist."

Mary Ellen Johannson was even younger. She was just 17 when she had her first stroke.

"There's something wrong with my arm, dropped the phone, went to stand and fell. Just sounds came out. Just unrecognizable sounds, no words," said Johannson.

Doctors initially said she was manic and recommended psychotherapy. They later realized she had a stroke.

Likely because of her age she was able to recover in just months, but ten years later Johannson had another stroke.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association says know the warning signs - face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty. Also, know your history, and if stroke and heart disease runs in your family.

Before her second stroke Johannson had a high powered successful career and was just accepted at Harvard.

Johannson said, "Not only did I not go, I lost my job. I was married. That dissipated very quickly. I couldn't walk correctly. I had a migraine 24 hours a day. You know, everything changed. Everything."

Acting fast is crucial since there is only a few hour window for treatment options like a clot-busting drug. For more information go online to www.strokeassociation.org.


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