Frankie Muniz‘s stroke was first signalled on Instagram and Twitter, but he went on Good Morning America today to explain what’s going on with his health, in over 140 characters. Apparently, his doctors later told him that he’d suffered a mini stroke, but his experience sounded full-size scary: He first knew something was wrong when he began losing vision during a motorcycle ride. “I couldn’t say words. I thought I was saying them! My fiance, was looking at me like I was speaking a foreign language,” he explained. One of the scariest parts is that he’s only 27 years old–and while strokes only hit about 10% of people between 15 and 44, it’s become more and more common in recent years.
What is a mini stroke?
Frankie Muniz’s stroke was first signalled to fans when his fiancee, Elycia Turnbow, posted a picture of him on his hospital bed to Instagram. He later tweeted about it to his fans, explaining that he’d had something called a mini stroke:
I was in the hospital last Friday. I suffered a “Mini Stroke”, which was not fun at all. Have to start taking care of my body! Getting old!
— Frankie Muniz (@frankiemuniz) December 4, 2012
A mini stroke, also called a transient ischemic attack, happens when blood flow to the brain is cut off for a short amount of time. Like regular strokes, mini stroke causes can include blood clots, blood vessel injuries, or blood vessel narrowing.
Almost 75% of all strokes happen in adults over the age of 75, according to The Stroke Center, so Frankie Muniz’s stroke, at age 27, is definitely a rare case. But last year, the CDC reported that stroke rates in young adults aged 15 to 44 have skyrocketed between 1995 and 2008.
Stroke Risk Factors
It’s unclear what caused Frankie Muniz’s stroke (he claims that he doesn’t drink or do drugs, and says he’s never smoked a cigarette), but the cause of higher stroke rates in young people is likely lifestyle-related. Stroke risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are also on the rise in increasingly young groups. Unlike other factors–like age, gender, race/ethnicity, and stroke family history–risk factors like diet and cigarette smoking are easy to change.
Stroke and Mini Stroke Symptoms
Frankie Muniz said he started losing vision in one of his eyes, which tipped him off that something was wrong. But not all stroke symptoms are so noticeable or extreme; many common stroke signs are so subtle that people don’t even realize they’re having a stroke at all. And even if you don’t know that something’s a recent report showed that one in three
The following can all be common symptoms of stroke–and mini stroke–according to the NIH:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble talking, or understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
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