Healthier Together: Stroke warning signs


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In this's week's Healthier Together, FOX 13 continues supporting the "Go Red For Women" movement to end heart disease and strokes.

FOX 13 spoke with a Washington woman who, in the prime of her career as an Army Captain, started experiencing jumbled speech and numbness over several months.

Jia Wu, of Tacoma, Washington, is stroke survivor and Puget Sound Go Red for Women Ambassador.

"I was 28 and in the active duty Army when I found out I was diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease which is a very rare, progressive cerebral vascular disease that impacts the carotid arteries that are leading up to your brain, further causing blockages and blood clots," said Wu. "So in that sense I am at a huge risk for stroke."

"I consistently had these floppy wrist feelings which I really describe as a dog flopping over and I had no idea what that even meant," she said. "But everyone kept telling me it was my left shoulder injury," said Wu. "The thing that frightened me the most in to urgently seek medical attention was a day when I was driving … my head snapped backward out of nowhere and I blacked out for a second or two. So that's when I spoke to my primary care provider and he decided to refer me to neurology."

What she was experiencing turned out to be mini-strokes.

"From the brain MRI, I ended up getting diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease," said Wu. "If I hadn't gotten that diagnosis I would have continuously experienced those mini stroke symptoms and probably experienced a debilitating major full-blown stroke," said Wu. "I had a clean family history of neurological diseases … so even when your family history and logic proves you wrong, you never know what is going to happen to you."

Wu had two brain surgeries to help prevent a major stroke.

It's important to know the warning signs of a stroke - and take action immediately if you suspect you are having one:

  • F = Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
  • A = Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S = Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred?
  • T = Time to call 911

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