Stroke, the silent stalker
Published Friday, February 15, 2013 6:05PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 19, 2013 9:50AM CST
Norm Shuttleworth is used to keeping up a fast pace and expecting the unexpected. As a director for CTV Saskatoon, he knows anything can happen with live television.
But, despite years of knowing what’s around the bend, nothing prepared Shuttleworth for what happened nearly two years ago. While on vacation, he started to lose vision in one eye. The symptoms stopped, but one year later, they were back, and this time, they showed no signs of leaving.
Shuttleworth suffered a stroke of the eye.
“It wasn’t until I got home and was referred to the stroke clinic in Saskatoon that I started thinking, ‘Oh my God, I had a stroke,”” Shuttleworth said.
“To this day, it’s hard for me to accept I’ve had a stroke.”
A clot formed in the back of his eye, cutting off blood flow and robbing him of sight in his left eye.
Shuttleworth said stroke was the furthest thing from his mind. He didn’t have any risk factors, had a healthy diet, wasn’t over weight, and exercised regularly.
Lee Cayer can relate to the baffling feeling Shuttleworth described. At 45, she too suffered a stroke while getting ready to go for a walk.
“I went to pick up my sunglasses, and all of a sudden my sunglasses were on the floor. In that moment of why are my sunglasses on the floor, I realized I had no feeling in my right side, it was that fast,” Cayer said.
These two are not alone in their experiences. Stroke can happen at any age, including infancy. However, doctors are starting to see an increasing trend of people suffering strokes in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.
The majority of stroke patients suffer ischemic strokes – these happen when a clot blocks a vessel from supplying blood to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel becomes weak or breaks open, leaking blood into the brain.
Acting quickly in the case of a stroke can make a major difference in a patient’s recovery.
For Cayer, quick action and the clot-busting drug TPA meant not only survival, but a complete recovery.
“Every day is a blessing,” she said.
“Even today, it’s a rush to go, but you do these things because what if I didn’t get tomorrow? What if I have another stroke today?”
Doctors are seeing the number of strokes in people in their 30's, 40's and 50's rise.