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Michigan mother: ‘I suffered a stroke at 39 – and the symptoms were not what I anticipated’



Jenna Gibson, a Michigan mother of two, had her life drastically changed when she experienced a stroke at the young age of 39. Despite not having the typical symptoms associated with strokes, such as facial droop, severe headache, or vision disturbances, Gibson was experiencing an optic migraine, which was later diagnosed as a stroke after further testing. She was immediately airlifted to the hospital and underwent emergency brain surgery to remove the blood clot, which was blocking the left side of her brain. Gibson faced the real possibility of death and the thought of never seeing her husband or daughters again.

Fortunately, Gibson survived the stroke but faced a long road to recovery. She had to relearn everything and underwent speech, occupational, and physical therapy to regain her abilities. Gibson still experiences numbness on the right side of her body and sometimes struggles with finding the right words while speaking. Despite these challenges, she was able to complete a half-marathon last October, showing her strength and determination in overcoming adversity.

Dr. Annie Tsui, chief of neurology at Access TeleCare, highlighted the prevalence of strokes among women and the importance of awareness. Women between the ages of 20 and 39 are at twice the risk of stroke compared to men. While strokes can occur at any age, it’s essential for individuals at higher risk to work with their doctor to develop a prevention plan. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial, as up to 80% of strokes can be prevented by addressing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Tsui recommends using the FAST acronym – Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 911 – as a tool for identifying stroke symptoms and seeking prompt medical attention. Some stroke treatments are most effective within the first three hours of symptoms, emphasizing the need for quick action to reduce the risk of brain injury or death. Every second counts in recognizing stroke symptoms and seeking timely medical assistance to prevent long-term complications.

In conclusion, Jenna Gibson’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of prioritizing health and being aware of the signs of stroke. Despite the challenges she faced, Gibson’s resilience and determination enabled her to overcome the odds and continue living a fulfilling life. By sharing her story, Gibson hopes to educate others about the risks of stroke and inspire them to take proactive steps towards their health and well-being. To access more health-related articles, visit and stay informed about the latest updates and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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