East Texan mother recalls the moment her son was having a stroke

May is is National Stroke Awareness Month.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 9:01 AM CDT|Updated: May. 31, 2023 at 10:20 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Every May, millions across the nation bring awareness to strokes. According to the C.D.C., strokes are the third leading cause of death in Texas.

Here in East Texas, Janis King, a mother of a stroke survivor recalls the moment when she received a call from her son.

“Mom, I think I’m having a stroke,” is what King reportedly said to her.

This was after her son had noticed stroke symptoms during work, such as the left side of his face drooping and his left arm feeling numb all the way through his fingertips. Her son knew something was not right and went straight to the hospital, and the next morning the whole family found out what the cause was.

“He got a stroke at the top of his head, and we were all shocked and of course, he was frightened he’s only 39 years old,” said King.

This marks a trend experts have seen more in recent years.

“A stroke is getting younger and younger it’s not uncommon for me to see 18, 20, 30-year-old patients that come in that have had a stroke,” said Jennifer Burwell, a stroke coordinator at CHRISTUS Health in Tyler.

According to Burwell, younger people are having strokes because they are not being as active.

“Not necessarily an age thing, it’s the number of risk factors that we have that contribute to the stroke,” said Burwell.

Some risk factors to look out for are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even dizziness or nausea. She also recommends remembering the acronym B.E.F.A.S.T, in case you or someone around you is having a stroke. The acronym stands for balance, eyes, face, arm, speech, and time.

“The faster you get to the hospital, the better off you’re going to be,” said Burwell.

For King, knowing her son is still here today is a reminder of the importance of knowing the signs early on.

“I don’t care how old you are, my son was 39 when this happened to him. You cannot overlook when your body is saying something to you, you cannot ignore it,” said King.

According to the C.D.C., 80 percent of strokes are preventable. One way experts recommend to prevent them is by getting an annual checkup to be aware of risk factors early on.