Young woman’s stroke launches Fibromuscular Dysplasia movement

Pam Mace, founder of FMDSA, urges patients to join patient registry

A stroke at age 37 is rare for most any one, but as an active adult who had adventures like scuba PamMace3.fwdiving and skydiving, it just didn’t make sense to me. I knew my body.

The day it happened, I woke up with a headache. After going for a 3 mile run later that day I noticed my pupils were unequal. I should have gone to the hospital right away but I didn’t. I just didn’t think I could have a stroke. But I did.

It would take a year before my doctors could explain why I had a stroke so young: fibromuscular dysplasia. The diagnosis would inspire me to start a movement around a rare vascular disease that affects women in the prime of their lives.

The two most common symptoms of fibromuscular dysplasia are headaches and high blood pressure. Think about how many people are walking around with those symptoms that could have FMD but they are treated as every day symptoms that millions of Americans have.

It’s why FMD has been called the rare disease that isn’t. FMD has always been considered a rare disease, and is still classified as a rare disease. But because it manifests so differently it’s likely underdiagnosed. Some research suggests as many 5 million Americans have FMD. Continue reading

Stroke in younger adults

Causes in those under age 50 may be different than in the elderly

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Use FAST to identify stroke signs: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.

Stroke occurs more often in the elderly, but those under the age of 50 can also experience a stroke. For this population, a stroke can present considerable challenges, particularly if the person is the parent of young children or the primary breadwinner for the family.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. Without oxygen from the blood, that part of the brain starts to die. The part of the body controlled by the damaged area of the brain then stops working properly, leading to symptoms such as weakness, numbness or difficulty speaking.

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